The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday questioned Kashmiri separatist leader and Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in connection with a case related to alleged terror funding. Mirwaiz may again be called for examination on Tuesday, sources said.
In a statement, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), said, “Appearance of Mirwaiz before NIA proves (the) government’s determination to establish that Kashmiri separatist leaders will have to be held accountable to the law of the land.”
According to NIA officials, Mirwaiz was asked to appear before the agency on March 11 and March 18, but he expressed his inability to join the investigation in Delhi, maintaining that he fears for his security in view of “conditions of hostility”.
In its third summons, issued last week, the NIA promised him security. On Monday, officials said, Mirwaiz was provided security on his arrival at Delhi’s IGI Airport — among other separatist leaders accompanying him were Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone and Maulana Abbas Ansari.
Based on allegations of terror funding and money laundering, the NIA had conducted raids in February on premises of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other Hurriyat leaders such as Yasin Malik and S A S Geelani’s son Naseem. They are part of the Joint Resistance Leadership in the Valley.
The NIA probe seeks to identify the chain of players behind financing of terrorist activities, pelting of stones on security forces deputed in the Valley, burning schools, and damaging government establishments.
The case names as an accused Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah, the front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba. It also names organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference factions led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the Mirwaiz, Hizbul Mujahideen, and Dukhtaran-e-Millat.
The Hurriyat Conference had held an executive meeting on Sunday night and strongly condemned the move to summon the Mirwaiz. It claimed its chairman is being “deliberately harassed”, and that there is “an effort to criminalise (the) leadership for their political stand”.
The NIA also questioned two maternal uncles of the Mirwaiz — Manzoor and Shafat — and his close aides last year. Manzoor and Shafat are retired senior government officers.
Recently, legal hurdles were cleared for resumption of trial in Jammu against Yasin Malik in the case of an attack by JKLF militants in 1990 on IAF personnel which led to four deaths.