Updated: August 8, 2021 6:56:28 pm
The National Investigation Agency Sunday raided 56 locations allegedly linked to the banned Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) in Jammu and Kashmir as a part of its probe into a terror funding case.
The searches, conducted along with the Jammu and Kashmir Police, began early in the day and were going on till the evening. They were carried out in Kashmir’s Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam districts and Jammu’s Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar and Rajouri districts.
JeI was banned by the government on February 28, 2019 — shortly after the Pulwama attack. Sources said NIA registered the terror funding case on February 5 under the Unlawtul Activities Prevention Act.
An NIA statement said: “The members of the organisation have been collecting funds domestically and abroad through donations particularly in the form of Zakat, Mowda and Bait-ul-Mal purportedly to further charity and other welfare activities but these funds are instead being used for violent and secessionist activities.”
It said these funds were channelled to banned groups such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and others.
“JeI has also been motivating impressionable youth of Kashmir and recruiting new members (Rukuns) in J&K to participate in disruptive secessionist activities,” it said.
NIA said the raid locations include the premises of office bearers of JeI, its members, as well as offices of trusts purportedly run by the organisation.
“During the searches today, various incriminating documents and electronic devices were seized from the premises of the suspects,” it said.
In Doda, sources identified some of the JeI activists whose premises were being searched as Dr Anayatullhah Wani and Abdul Hafiz Sheikh of Marmat, Sadar-u-Din of Bahalla, Mohammad Sadiq of Thathri, Aftab Ahmed Khokhar of Doda main Bazaar, and Abdul Hafiz Sheikh of Ghat.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had banned Jamaat-e-Islami for five years following a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Police and paramilitary forces had also launched a crackdown against the organisation on the night of February 22, 2019, raiding the houses of dozens of members and detaining more than 250.
Among those detained were top state and district leaders, including JeI chief Dr Abdul Hameed Fayaz, former secretary general Dr Ghulam Qadir Lone, spokesperson Advocate Zahid Ali and most of the district presidents. Most of the activists were detained from the four districts of South Kashmir. Fayaz continues to be in jail.
Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir, founded in 1942, has a strong cadre base across the erstwhile state. It is different from the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and is aligned towards the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan. It maintains that Jammu and Kashmir is disputed territory, and seeks its resolution through right to self-determination.
In 1990, when militancy erupted in the Valley, the Hizbul Mujahideen called itself the military wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Hundreds of its activists were killed by the counter-insurgency militia Ikhwan in the mid-90s. Jamaat-e-Islami distanced itself from militancy in 1997.