New Delhi ups the ante in Kashmir, separatists under investigation
In what is seen in the Kashmir valley as the political fallout of the last year’s pro-freedom protest campaign led by separatist leadership, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday began investigating them for receiving funds from militant outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jamaat-Ud-Dawaah (JuD), headed by Hafiz Saeed and others. The Hurriyat leaders have all along laughed off these accusations, calling them a witch-hunt to punish the leadership for leading the pro-freedom campaign.
The NIA believes that LeT and JuD funded Hurriyat leaders to foment violence in the Jammu and Kashmir region. According to the Hindustan Times, the agency will now call key Hurriyat figures like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Naeem Khan, Gazi Javed Baba and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karate for questioning in connection with the alleged funds received by them. The four key Hurriyat leaders figures in NIA’s preliminary enquiry (PE), the report said. A PE is a precursor to an FIR (first investigation report), the first step to launching a probe.
The four are alleged to have received funds from militant outfits like LeT, JuD to pay off people carrying out violent protests and arson in the Kashmir Valley, where more than 100 civilians have been killed since July last year. The agency believes the money received by the Hurriyat leaders was routed through hawala — a system of transferring money across borders that is outlawed in India. The PE names LeT founder Hafiz Saeed as one of the sources for the funds, in addition to other unknown persons in Pakistan. The NIA will also verify allegations in a sting operation that showed some of the Hurriyat leaders talking about receiving money from Saeed and other Pakistani individuals.