NEW DELHI: After skipping the first two summons of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a terror funding case, moderate separatist leader and Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq appeared before the agency on Monday, officials said.
Mirwaiz, who was provided security upon his arrival at the Indira Gandhi International airport, was accompanied by separatist leaders Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone and Maulana Abbas Ansari.
Mirwaiz was asked to appear before the NIA on March 11 and March 18 but expressed his inability to do so, saying he feared for his security in view of “conditions of hostility”. In its third summons, issued last week, the NIA promised him security. Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) termed the development “significant” and said it would pave the way for a “thorough investigation”.
“Mirwaiz had tried to evade the questioning by NIA by resorting to various stratagems - not responding initially to NIA summons at all, and later saying he was ready to be examined by NIA in Srinagar. However, eventually he had to follow the summons and travel to New Delhi to answer questions from NIA,” a senior MHA official said.
The official added that Mirwaiz’s questioning was in line with the government’s firm stance that separatist leaders will be held accountable for the laws of the land.
The NIA probe seeks to identify the chain of players behind the financing of terrorist activities, pelting of stones on security forces and burning of schools in J&K