New Delhi: Key separatists, including Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, are being probed for allegedly receiving money from Lashkar-e-Taiba and other sources in Pakistan to fund stone-pelting and violent protests in Jammu and Kashmir.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday said it has filed a case against Geelani and his close aide and Hurriyat provincial president Naeem Khan, JKLF leader Farooq Ahmed Dar also known as Bitta Karate and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader Gazi Javed Baba. A team of the counter-terror probe agency landed in Srinagar to question the four separatist leaders, an NIA statement said. "The NIA has registered a preliminary enquiry into the funding of (the) Hurriyat leaders by LeT chief Hafiz Muhammed Saeed and other Pakistan-based terrorists and agencies to carry out subversive activities in Kashmir," the statement said.
The Enforcement Directorate, which probes economic offences, said it would also join the NIA probe into the matter of funding from Pakistan through hawala channels - an illegal cash transfer system across borders run by money brokers. An ED official said that it would probe all the financial transactions of the Hurriyat leaders. The NIA alleged that the Hurriyat Conference may have been funding trouble, including violent activities like stone pelting and burning of schools and government buildings, in the Kashmir Valley by distributing the money it gets from Pakistan. An NIA official said: "The team will soon call the Hurriyat leaders for questioning."
The move comes after an expose by a national news channel, India Today, purportedly showing Pakistan pumping money to stoke trouble in the valley in connivance with Hurriyat leaders. The NIA official said a notice has been sent to the TV channel for the unedited videos of the sting. India Today news channel aired a sting on May 16 in which the Hurriyat leaders were allegedly seen in conversation with the reporter and confessing that they received money from Pakistan-based organisations routed through hawala. On Friday, two India Today journalists were allegedly assaulted by JKLF chief Yasin Malik in Srinagar when they went to seek his reaction over the channel's report. Malik accused one of the reporters of barging into his bedroom, and filed a police complaint of criminal trespass.