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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Monday arrested seven Kashmiri separatists, including the son-in-law of Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and a close aide of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, in connection with a case of alleged terror funding from Pakistan. Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Funtoosh, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Peer Saifullah, Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Nayeem Khan and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate are the seven arrested. Shahid-ul-Islam is a close aide and press secretary of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
The NIA said Farooq Ahmad Dar was arrested in New Delhi. The others held in Srinagar will be brought to New Delhi Tuesday where they will be produced before the Special Judge, NIA, at the Patiala House Courts. Dar had been summoned for questioning to the NIA headquarters and later placed under arrest.
Protesting the arrests, the separatist leadership called for a Kashmir bandh Tuesday.
Sources said the NIA decided to arrest the seven since they were not cooperating with the investigation and the agency had found evidence against them in connection with the case. “We have ascertained financial trails which are leading to some of these accused. It has also been ascertained that some of the funding has been coming from Pakistan,” an NIA officer said.
The NIA registered a case on May 30 against the separatists who, according to the agency, were acting in connivance with active militants of Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtarane Millat, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and other organisations.
The NIA spokesman said the men were raising, receiving and collecting funds through illegal means, including hawala, for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir. “They were using funds for causing disruption in Kashmir Valley by way of pelting stones on security forces, burning schools, damaging public property and waging war against India.
The spokesman said the NIA had conducted widespread searches in Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Haryana and recovered documents, electronic devices, cash and valuables worth several crores of rupees.