The National Investigating Agency on Thursday named Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafeez Saeed, Hizbul Mujahideen head Syed Salahuddin (pictured above) and 10 others in its chargesheet filed in the alleged terror funding case in Jammu and Kashmir. They have been accused of criminal conspiracy, attempting to wage a war against India and sedition under the Indian Penal Code and provisions under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Apart from Saeed and Salahuddin, the other 10 mentioned in the chargesheet are seven middle-rung Hurriyat leaders, a Kashmiri photojournalist and another youth arrested for allegedly pelting stones are security forces and a Kashmiri businessman accused of facilitating the terror funding through hawala channels.
Saeed, Salaluddin, photojournalist Kamran Yusuf, who is a regular contributor to the Valley’s largest English daily Greater Kashmir, and one Javed Ahmad have been specifically charged for forming strategies to launch violent protests and creating an atmosphere of fear in the state.
Separatist leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Yasin Malik and Geelani’s sons, who were questioned in connection with the case, have not been named in the chargesheet.
In July 2017, seven separatist leaders, including Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah, were arrested in connection with the case. Under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the prosecuting agency needs to file a chargesheet within six months of arrest, failing which the accused is eligible for bail.
At a press conference shortly after the NIA filed the chargesheet, Malik said arresting separatists was the government’s tactic to have them hold a dialogue with the administration. “Our associates are locked in Tihar jail, I call it kidnapping,” he added. “The allegations against them have not been proven. These are trumpet charges.”
Geelani, who spoke to the press over the telephone as he was not allowed to attend the press conference, said separatists will observe January 26, Republic Day, as a black day. “The strike and strength of the strike will be a befitting response of the people,” he said.
Mirwaiz strongly objected to linking terrorism with the separatist movement.
In September 2017, the agency had searched 16 locations in various parts of Kashmir and Delhi as part of its investigation. A month later, the NIA said Salahuddin’s son Syed Shahid Yusuf has admitted to receiving funds to stoke terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The NIA submitted the 1,279- page chargesheet to the Patiala House Court in Delhi, which will take cognisance of it on January 30, and sought permission to continue its inquiry. The agency said it taken the testimonies of more than 300 witnesses into account, seized more than 950 incriminating documents and 600 electronic devices, and raided 60 locations across Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Delhi to prepare the chargesheet.