The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday arrested seven people, including the son-in-law of separatist leader SAS Geelani+ , for allegedly funding terror groups in Kashmir.
The seven are Altaf Shah, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Mehraj Kalwal, Shahid-ul-Islam, Naeem Khan and Bitta Karate.
According to Times of India report, Shah is the son-in-law of hardline Hurriyat leader Geelani, Islam is a close aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Akbar is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat. Geelani suspended Khan from the basic membership of Hurriyat conference in May, days after a sting operation surfaced in which he purportedly confessed to receiving funds from Pakistan to create unrest in the Kashmir Valley.
Hafeez Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of the Jamaat-ud Dawa, the front of the banned Lashker-e-Taiba, has been named in the FIR as an accused, in addition to organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and separatist Mirwaiz Farooq), Hizbul Mujahideen and Dukhtaran-e-Milat.
NIA had last month raided the Srinagar house of Shah, who is the son-in-law of separatist leader SAS Geelani. Apart from being the son-in-law of Geelani, Shah is perceived to be influential in the evolving the policies of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
The NIA had also searched the premises of others like Shahid-ul-Islam, an aide of Farooq’s, who heads the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference.The raids were part of the NIA’s efforts to clamp down on separatist groups allegedly receiving funds for subversive activities in the Valley.
The NIA had recovered some account books, Rs 2 crore in cash and letterheads of banned terror groups, including the LeT and the Hizbul Mujahideen, during its searches. The agency’s investigation seeks to identify the chain of players behind the financing of terrorist activities, including pinpointing those who pelted stones at security forces, burnt down schools and damaged government establishments.
This is the first time since the rise of militancy in Kashmir in the early 1990s, that a central probe agency has carried out raids in connection with the funding of separatists.
In 2002, the income tax department had conducted searches against some separatist leaders including Geelani and seized cash and documents. However, no criminal case was registered then.