NIA conducts raids in Kashmir, Delhi over terror funding from Pakistan: Files FIR against Hurriyat leaders

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday carried out searches at 14 places in Kashmir and eight places in the national capital in connection with terror funding received from Pakistan for carrying out subversive activities in the Valley.

National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India. It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency. The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday conducted raids across Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi after converting a preliminary enquiry into terror funding, allegedly at involving Hurriyat leaders into a regular case and registered FIRs against the separatist leaders involved in the case, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Geelani was earlier named in the NIA’s Preliminary Enquiry.

The NIA also filed FIRs against LeT Chief Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen.

India considers LeT Chief Hafiz Saeed as one of its most wanted terrorists because of his alleged ties with Lashkar-e-Taiba and his alleged involvement in attacks in India such as the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks,2006 Mumbai train bombings and 2001 Indian Parliament attack. Therefore Saeed is listed on the NIA Most Wanted list and India has banned his organisation as a terrorist organisation.

The United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union,Russia and Australia have also banned Lashkar-e-Taiba. Since 2008, various Indian politicians have demanded that Saeed be handed over but there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

The investigating agency has booked them under Sections 120 b, 121, 121 of the CrPC, and Sections 13, 18, 20, 38 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The NIA has recovered cash worth Rs 1 crore from raids in two places, one in Srinagar and another in Delhi.

Money is being routed through hawala operators from Old Delhi’s Ballimaran and Chandni Chowk to separatists in Srinagar. NIA carried out raids in Delhi’s Barodia market, Katra Siraj and Ballimaran.

NIA chief Sharad Kumar told TOI that 21 locations, including 14 in Kashmir and 7 in Delhi, were raided on early Saturday morning and added that the raids are likely to continue till afternoon.

Sources said the locations in Delhi belonged to suspected hawala traders, who helped channel funds from Pakistan-based sources such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and other individuals to separatists. The money was allegedly used to trigger violent protests and arson in Kashmir.

The separatists were allegedly receiving funds from the chief of Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), Hafiz Saeed, to carry out subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley, including pelting stones at security forces, damaging public property and burning schools and other government establishments.

Among those raided were close aides and kins of hardline separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani and others in the Hurriyat Conference. Two places in Sonepat were also being searched by the NIA teams in this connection.

The raids follow questioning of three separatist, Nayeem Khan, who was seen on television during a sting operation purportedly confessing to receiving money from Pakistan-based terror groups, Farooq Ahmed Dar alias ‘Bitta Karate’ and Gazi Javed Baba of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, in the national capital last month.

Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), a charity run by terror outfits Jamaat-Ud-Dawa(JuD) and Lashkar-e-taiba (LeT), and Al Rehmat Trust, backed by another terrorists group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), have been supporting terrorists and funding terrorism in Kashmir.

FIF, one of the major and fastest growing Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in Pakistan, also collects money from people and uses them to fund terrorists.

Violence in the Kashmir valley peaked after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July.

Burhan Wani, was a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen a Kashmir based militant outfit. He was popular among the Kashmiris due to his activity on social media where he advocated against  Indian rule in Kashmir. He was killed in an encounter with the Indian security forces on 8 July 2016.

Widespread protests erupted in the Kashmir valley after his death, causing  2016 unrest in valley for nearly half a year. The violence which erupted after his death was described as the worst unrest in the region since the 2010 Kashmir unrest, with Kashmir being placed under 53 consecutive days of curfews imposed by Indian authorities that was lifted from all parts of the region on 31 August 2016.

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