NIA searches 10 places in Kashmir, one in Bengaluru

National Investigation Agency (NIA) members carry out search operation at Greater Kashmir office in Srinagar on October 28, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday conducted searches at one place in Bengaluru and 10 premises in Kashmir, including the office of daily Greater Kashmir, houses of two human rights activists and a journalist, in a case pertaining to “raising funds and using it for carrying out secessionist and separatist activities”.

Also read: NIA conducts fresh raids in Kashmir’s Pulwama, Budgam

An NIA spokesman said the 10 searches took place in Srinagar and Bandipora, and at Thanisandra in Bengaluru.

“These searches were made in connection with a case pertaining to certain so-called non-governmental organisations [NGOs] and Trusts raising funds in India and abroad in the name of charitable activities and then using those funds for carrying out secessionist and separatist activities in J&K”, the spokesman said. 

Fresh case

On October 8, the NIA registered a fresh case under Section 120B, 124 A of the IPC and Sections 17, 18, 22A, 22C, 38, 39 and 40 of the UA(P)A, 1967 “on receipt of credible information that certain NGOs and Trusts are collecting funds through so-called donations and business contributions etc. and are utilizing these funds for secessionist and terrorist activities in J&K”.

Also read: Terror funding case: Three Kashmiri separatists arrested, sent to 10-day NIA custody

According to the NIA, the premises searched include the residence and office of Khurram Parvez, coordinator of the J&K Coalition of Civil Society, his associates Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, a journalist, Parvez Ahmad Matta and Bengaluru-based associate Swati Sheshadri.

“Parveena Ahanger, Chairperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons ( APDPK), and offices of NGO Athrout and the Greater Kashmir Trust were also searched”, the NIA said. 

Several incriminating documents and electronic devices have been seized, the NIA spokesman said. “Further investigation is on”, he added.

Sources said a Hurriyat activist’s house was searched in north Kashmir’s Bandipora.

Mehbooba condemns searches

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and ex-Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the searches. “The NIA raids on human rights activist Parvez and the Greater Kashmir office in Srinagar is yet another example of the Government of India’s vicious crackdown on freedom of expression and dissent. Sadly, the NIA has become BJP’s pet agency to intimidate and browbeat those who refuse to fall in line,” she tweeted.

Also read: NIA attaches property of Kashmiri separatist leader Asiya Andrabi

Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin said the searches at the newspaper office and Mr. Parvez’s house “are attempts to impose silence even on our whispers”. “This comes a day after the disempowering land laws. Can this be just a coincidence?” she tweeted.

Kashmir Editors guild’s concern

 The Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) has expressed concern over the pre-dawn NIA searches at the Greater Kashmir premises.

“Kashmir media continues to get targeted, demonized, vilified and raided by both the state and non-state actors for a long time now. Kashmir media has proven record of being a professional institution that maintained textbook objectivity, while maintaining its core journalistic values. The KEG expresses its concern over the mounting costs of being a journalist in Kashmir”, a KEG spokesman said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 3:12:26 AM |

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