The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday arrested Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) youth leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra for allegedly supporting Hizbul Mujahideen, a banned terror outfit. The arrest comes days after he filed a nomination to contest the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) elections from his home constituency in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
NIA said Parra’s arrest was made in the case registered against suspended Jammu and Kashmir police officer Davinder Singh, who was arrested with a Hizbul terrorist Syed Naveed Mushtaq alias Naveed Babu on January 11.
Parra was among hundreds of political workers in J&K who were detained or arrested in the run-up to August 5, 2019 when Rajya Sabha passed two legislations to revoke the special status of J&K under Article 370, and the former State was bifurcated and downgraded into two Union Territories.
He was in detention since August 4, 2019 and was released in February this year, following which he was kept under house arrest. It was only a couple of months ago that curbs were lifted and he was allowed to move freely.
When asked that had not Parra been under detention at the time of Singh’s arrest, an NIA official said that his association with the Hizbul dated back to 2018.
“Today, NIA arrested Waheed Ur Rehman Parra, the youth wing leader of People’s Democratic Party, in connection with Naveed Babu/Devender Singh case for supporting Hizbul Mujahideen in conspiracy with the other accused persons,” NIA said.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said Parra has no connection whatsoever with this man and was being falsely charged. “All just to blackmail and intimidate PDP and mainstream political parties in J&K. I can personally vouch for Waheed’s integrity, honesty and character. It’s up to the judiciary now to dispense justice and ensure he is released at the earliest,” Ms. Mufti said.
Relating his arrest with District Development Council polls coming up, a PDP spokesperson said Waheed was supposed to contest the polls from his home constituency in Pulwama. “He was arrested immediately after filing the nomination for the polls, a clear attempt by a central agency meddling into the electoral process and influencing it in favour of the cronies of New Delhi,” the spokesperson alleged.
He said the arrest signalled “the level of depravity to which the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) can go in targeting and damaging its political opponents”. “These actions of New Delhi will not deter the PDP. Our actions and our voices will become louder,” he added.
Parra was a vocal critic of the revocation of Article 370 in J&K after he was released. He was earlier been called to Delhi by the NIA for questioning in the month of October, when he was asked about his links with advocate Irfan Shafi Mir, who was arrested with Davinder Singh on January 11. He was again called by the NIA to Delhi this week and was arrested after three days of questioning.