Srinagar: Key Kashmiri separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik will fly to Delhi on Saturday and ask the National Investigating Agency (NIA) to arrest them.
Addressing a press conference at Srinagar’s historic Grand Mosque on Wednesday, Farooq and Malik said the move was to counter the NIA’s “harassment”.
Geelani was supposed to accompany Malik and Farooq, but could not turn up for the press conference “because he continues to be under house arrest.” He, however, addressed the media via telephone.
The Hurriyat Conference faction headed by the octogenarian leader was represented by one of its senior leaders, Shia cleric Aga Syed Hassan al-Mousvi.
“The NIA has let loose a reign of terror across Jammu and Kashmir. Even our family members and relatives are being harassed. Those associated with us based on principles of political ideology, our activists, aid workers and others are being targeted too,” alleged Farooq.
“The Joint Resistance Leadership including Geelani Sahib, Yasin Malik Sahib and myself will fly to Delhi on September 9 and present ourselves for arrest at the NIA headquarters,” he said.
Incidentally, Home Minister Rajnath Singh will on the same day begin his three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir. He will hold a series of meetings to review the prevailing law and order situation in the valley.
The NIA sleuths, earlier on Wednesday, conducted raids at 11 locations in Srinagar and five in Delhi.
“The raids have been carried out in several places in Delhi, Srinagar and Gurugram in connection with terror funding. There are links of hawala operators, funders and cross-LoC traders which have emerged and on the basis of these raids are being conducted,” NIA DG Sharad Kumar told reporters.
The NIA had on Tuesday arrested two alleged ‘ringleaders’ of stone-pelters, including a freelance press photographer from south of the Valley. The sources said that the raids in central Srinagar were conducted on Wednesday based on inputs obtained during investigation.
The agency has been probing alleged funding of terror and subversive activities in Kashmir Valley after a national TV channel in May, in a sting operation, showed three separatist leaders admitting on camera that they had received funding from Pakistan.
Farooq said the NIA raids, arrests and other actions “won’t deter us from the path of right to self determination”. He added, “Our political struggle will continue come what may.”
A statement issued at the presser accused the Modi government of following a policy of coercion, defamation and intimidation in Kashmir “as it does not want to address the actual issue”.
“The Government of India wants to change the whole narrative. Hence, diversionary tactics and propaganda is being used,” the statement read.
“The narrative of the Kashmir dispute and our struggle for self-determination are being deliberately distorted and projected as a sponsored movement from across the border where money is the motivation and the end,” Farooq said.
Talking about the NIA’s actions, the separatist leaders said that their family members, friends, acquaintances and party cadres are being intimidated and harassed. “Anyone and everyone associated with us and the movement is being targeted. The NIA is using fear as a tool of intimidation against these people and psychologically tormenting them to put pressure on us”, they alleged....