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NIA raids separatists’ homes in Kashmir

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JRL calls 2-day shutdown

Srinagar, Feb 26: The sleuths of National Investigation Agency on Tuesday carried out searches at seven locations, including in the homes of separatists like Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, officials said.

The agency said it recovered "high-tech internet communication setup" from the residence of the Mirwaiz.

It also claimed to have recovered letter heads of militant groups and visa recommendation letters for admission in Pakistan-based educational institutions from several locations.

The NIA team, accompanied by local police and CRPF personnel, swooped on residences of some of the separatist leaders, including the Mirwaiz, Naseem Geelani, son of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and chairman of Tehrek-e-Hurriyat Ashraf Sehrai, they said.

"During the searches, NIA teams recovered incriminating documents including property papers, financial transactions receipts and bank account details. Electronic devices including laptops, e-tablets, mobile phones, pen drives, communication system and DVRs were also seized during the searches," the NIA spokesperson said.

"A high-tech internet communication setup was also recovered from the residence of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq," he said.

Besides these, the houses of JKLF leader Yaseen Malik, Shabir Shah, Zaffar Bhat and Masarat Alam were also raided.

Barring the Mirwaiz and Sehrai, all other leaders were inside jail for quite some time.

"The searched premises included those belonging to top separatist leaders namely Yaseen Malik, chairman JKLF; Shabir Shah, president JKDFP; Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman Awami Action Committee; Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, chairman Tehreek-e-Hurriyat; Masarat Alam, general secretary APHC; Zaffar Akbar Bhat, chairman JKSM, and Naseem Geelani, son of Sayed Ali Shah Geelani," the spokesperson said here.

The NIA had questioned two maternal uncles of the Mirwaiz — Maulvi Manzoor and Maulvi Shafat — and his aides last year. Both of them are retired senior government officers.

The NIA probe seeks to identify the chain of players behind the funding of militant activities, including those who pelted stones on government forces, burnt down schools and damaged government establishments.

The case names Hafeez Saeed, Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ud Dawah as an accused, besides organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq), Hizbul Mujahideen and Dukhtaran-e-Millat.

Meanwhile, separatists Tuesday called for a two-day shutdown in Kashmir against NIA raids at residences of several leaders.

In a statement here, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) called for complete shutdown on Wednesday and Thursday against the NIA raids and "threats to tinker with" Article 35-A, which gives special rights and privileges to natives of the state.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A this week.

In the statement, JLR alleged NIA personnel, accompanied by local police officials, “straightaway barged into and started vandalizing their houses and intimidating their families”.

"This act of clear vengeance in many cases continued from early morning till late in the day and ended after the complete devastation of the houses and families under siege," it alleged.

NIA sleuths searched the residences of several separatists leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Ashraf Sehrai, Shabir Shah, Masarat Aalam Butt, Syed Naseem Geelani (son of Syed Ali Shah Geelani) and Zaffar Akbar Bhat, earlier Tuesday.

The JRL statement said that the strike call has been given against fresh NIA raids “against almost whole resistance leadership, extensive spree of arrests in nook and corner of Kashmir and threats of tinkering with Article 35-A, the hearing of which is scheduled tomorrow in Supreme Court.”

Taking a dig at the “criminal silence” of the international community, especially the world powers, JRL said that “world is watching silently Kashmir being crippled undemocratically”.

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