The Jammu and Kashmir Police have detained two Kashmiri separatists ahead of a meeting on Monday called to discuss the raids conducted by the National Investigation Agency on the homes of Hurriyat leaders, said a report in Hindustan Times.
On Sunday night, chief of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, was put under house arrest. This was followed by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik (pictured above) being taken into preventive custody on Monday morning. The two were to attend a meeting chaired by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Srinagar. Geelani’s house was also sealed by the police, reported NDTV.
The NIA on Saturday and Sunday conducted raids at 40 locations in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Delhi and Haryana, to crack down on terror funding by Pakistan-based groups.
Significantly, the offices of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, associated with Geelani; homes of Ayaz Akbar, a close aide of Geelani and a businessman, Farooq Bagoo, were raided, reported NDTV.
Letterheads of the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, laptops, mobile phones, gold jewellery and more than Rs 2.5 crore in cash were recovered by NIA sleuths, according to Hindustan Times. However, NDTV reported that Pakistani currency worth thousands was also recovered.
“The anti-Kashmiri state resorted to its usual tactic of curbing the leadership through force, once again showing that Kashmir is ruled by the forces might,’’ a Hurriyat spokesperson said in a statement, according to Hindustan Times. Describing the raids as a witch hunt, Hurriyat leaders on Sunday had accused the Indian government of targeting businessmen to cripple Kashmir’s economy.
Yasin Malik, who was only recently released from jail, had warned the central government of “dire consequences” and street protests in response to the raids conducted by the NIA, said a report in The Times of India.
The raids began after the NIA turned a preliminary enquiry into the sources of funding of Kashmiri separatist leaders. The agency has claimed in its first information report that money received from Pakistan was being used to fund unrest in the Valley, including stone pelting on Indian security forces and burning of schools. The Kashmir Valley has experienced nearly a year of violence after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by Indian security forces on July 8 last year.
All top Hurriyat leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani are likely to be summoned for questioning, an unidentified NIA official told Hindustan Times.