Three Kashmiri separatist leaders on Wednesday said they would court arrest at the National Investigation Agency’s headquarters in New Delhi on September 9, to protest against what they called a “vilification” of the Kashmiri people.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani (pictured above), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik compared the NIA to popular Bollywood villain Gabbar Singh and said, “The government was using this Gabbar Singh to scare the people away from the freedom struggle.”

They made the announcement at a press conference at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, following NIA raids at 16 locations across Kashmir and Delhi earlier on Wednesday. The people raided were mainly traders, who were accused of being involved in hawala transactions meant for funding terror and separatist activities.

“The government is using the NIA to harass leaders, businessmen and the student community, which has been at the forefront of peaceful protests,” Mirwaiz, who heads the Hurriyat Conference, said, adding that the agency’s investigations were an attempt to divert attention from the Kashmir conflict. “The government does not want to solve the Kashmir issue.”

Malik, chief of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, alleged that the government was foisting one subject or the other every month. “First, the issue of Kashmiri Pandit colonies, then some other issues, and now they want to repeal Article 35A,” he said, also claiming that electronic and social media were being used for a “vicious propaganda” against Kashmiris.

Article 35A of the Indian Constitution allows the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature to decide who “permanent residents” of the state are and give them rights and privileges.