The NIA on Sunday raided the house of Ayaz Akbar, the spokesperson for Tehreek-e-Hurriyat that is helmed by separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, among at least seven places across Jammu & Kashmir as well as in Gurgaon. The multiple searches on the second consecutive day are part of the NIA’s investigation into the funding of separatist leaders.
Searches were still under way at four places in Kashmir and one place in Jammu. “During the searches, Pakistani currency (a few thousand) and currencies belonging to the UAE and Saudi Arabia were seized apart from other incriminating material,” an NIA spokesperson said. The persons concerned were being questioned about the recoveries,” the spokesperson added.
Among those whose properties were searched are Tariq Ahmed Khan, the former president of the LoC Traders’ Association, Farooq Baggu and Kama alias Bittu of Jammu.
The house of businessman Zahoor Watali in Gurgaon was also searched. They are being questioned about their involvement in the case, said an NIA statement. A search was conducted also at the home of Peer Saifullah, another of Geelani’s close aides, officials added.
Searches were conducted at the homes of two businessmen brothers, Raghav Aggarwal and Kamal Aggarwal, in Jammu. Sources said they had been trading in dry fruits from the Valley and were also into LoC trade with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Reacting to the searches, Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF’s Mohammad Yasin Malik in a statement on Sunday said a policy of witch-hunt and terrorisation was launched by the Indian state against the resistance leadership and the business community.
“Such dirty ploys will neither demoralise the people from their faith in their political struggle and their leadership, nor will it help shift focus from the actual issue on the ground and the unprecedented atrocities committed against the Kashmiri people,’’ the joint statement said.
The names of the Agarwal brothers reportedly figured in questioning during Saturday’s raids on the offices and residences of Hurriyat leaders and alleged hawala traders in Kashmir and Delhi on the suspicion that they were conduits for terror funds.
Giving details, sources said that NIA team members arrived in Jammu on Sunday morning and simultaneously raided the business and residential premises of both brothers in the Ware House and Gandhi Nagar areas, respectively. The raids continued for nearly two hours, with NIA officials seizing some documents, questioning them and their family.