The National Investigation Agency on Wednesday morning carried out searches at ten locations in Jammu and Kashmir and one in Bengaluru in connection with its inquiry in a fresh terror funding case.
“Today, NIA conducted searches at 10 locations in Srinagar and Bandipora [J&K] and one location in Bangalore in connection with a case pertaining to certain so-called 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 agency said in a statement.
It added that a new case was registered based on credible information that the non-governmental organisations are using funds for terrorist activities.
The locations raided included the offices of English newspaper Greater Kashmir and NGO Athroot, the home of human rights activist Khurram Parvez, and a houseboat named HB Hilton in the Dal Lake, IANS reported. Officials from the National Investigation Agency were assisted by the local police and the Central Reserve Police Forces.
The premises of AFP’s Kashmir correspondent Parvaiz Bukhari, and Khurram Parvez’s associate Parvez Ahmad Matta and Bengaluru-based associate Swati Sheshadri and Parveena Ahanger, the chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons were also searched. Several “incriminating documents and electronic devices” have been seized, the NIA said.
Khurram Parvez was detained for 76 days in 2016 under the Public Safety Act, while in July 2019, Fayaz Ahmad Kaloo, the editor of Greater Kashmir, and Rashid Makhdoomi, its publisher, were summoned to Delhi and questioned by the National Investigation Agency for a week. The investigating agency did not give an official reason for the summons. Some reports suggested they were questioned for the newspaper’s coverage of the 2016 Kashmir protests, triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani. Others had suggested Kaloo’s interrogation was related to a terror funding investigation.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti criticised Wednesday morning’s raids and said that it was yet another example of the government’s “vicious crackdown” on freedom of expression and dissent. “Sadly, NIA has become BJP’s pet agency to intimidate & browbeat those who refuse to fall in line,” she added.