Exclusive: Omar Abdullah, Pakistani Embassy officials met separatist leader, says NIA probe report on Kashmir unrest

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is probing the role of separatist leaders in Kashmir in fanning unrest in the Valley has named former chief minister and National Conference working president, Omar Abdullah, and some officials of Pakistani Embassy who met Hurriyat (G) leader, Devinder Singh Behal, in Kashmir.

As part of the investigation, the NIA has prepared a disclosure statement of Behal who has informed the investigating agency that when he met Omar in 2013 he failed to address the concerns of Sikhs and Hindus and instead told them to meet Hurriyat (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, or Syed Ali Shah Geelani. He was earlier detained by NIA in the case of funding of separatist activities in Kashmir.

File image of National Conference leader Omar Abdullah. PTI

File image of National Conference leader Omar Abdullah. PTI

Behal as the head of Jammu and Kashmir Social Peace Forum (JKSPF) is the constituent of Hurriyat (G) and is also its executive member. Behal whose family lives in Rajouri has been frequently travelling to Kashmir to meet Geelani at his Hyderpora residence.

The NIA documents read that "in the year 2013 a delegation of Hindus and Sikhs from Pulwama district led by SGPC chairman, Avtar Singh Makkar, met the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, and briefed him about the problems faced by Hindus and Sikhs in the Valley, the CM bluntly told that he can’t do anything and we should go to Mirwaiz and Geelani".

The repeated attempts by Firstpost to reach out to the former chief minister for his reaction failed. Text messages on his phone also went unanswered.

Omar's political secretary, Tanveer Sadiq, said that during his tenure as chief minister, Omar, may have met many delegations. He said that he can’t comment further on what transpired in the meeting with Behal.

NIA spokesman, Alok Mittal, said that the investigating agency will examine the records to find out "as to why was Omar named as part of the case". The NIA disclosure has been signed by its inspector, Vigyan Singh. The NIA officials confirmed that Singh was associated with the agency as an official to probe the cases related to "militancy".

Behal remains associated with Geelani since September 2013 and has told the NIA that he has attended some 20 meetings of the Hurriyat in two and half years. Most of these meetings were held at Geelani's residence. He further added that these meetings were also attended by the local "trade unions, hotel unions, fruit and transport associations".

Besides his meeting with Omar, NIA has also disclosed that Behal would frequently visit the Pakistani Embassy in New Delhi and also visited Pakistan. "In December 2012, I applied for tourist visa for Pakistan. Md Zulfikar was the first officer of Pakistan Embassy and he was known to me. In Jan 2013, I visited Pakistan (sic)," the disclosure read.

Hurriyat (G) spokesman, Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar, said that Behal was attending the meetings of the separatist outfit and was also its executive member.

The separatist leader also told the NIA that the Hurriyat leaders will recommend names of youths for MBBS and BDS training in Pakistani institutions. He also disclosed that he visited Pakistan and had raised the issue that the Muslim leaders of Kashmir were getting funding while as the non-Muslim leaders are being left out.

Gulza, however, said that the allegations which are leveled by the NIA "were devoid of any basis".

The NIA documents further state that some 50 Hurriyat leaders have been given a quota of recommending one seat each for  MBBS admissions in Pakistan and "top ten Hurriyat leaders have power to recommend more than one seat".

In the disclosures before the NIA, Behal stated that the separatist leaders were charging between Rs 17 to 25 lakh to issue recommendations for admissions in medical colleges in Pakistan.

Gulzar said that Behal’s party continues to "be an important constituent of Hurriyat Conference". He, however, said that "We will look into the issue that how the disclosure statement of Behal accuses Hurriyat of raising money."

The separatist leader however also said that after he raised with Geelani that he should be in a position to recommend candidates for some MBBS and BDS seats, his party was also given one seat each for MBBS and BDS in Pakistani institutions.

NIA also revealed in the disclosure that besides Behal, some other Hurriyat leaders have close contacts with the officials in Pakistani Embassy and "they were actively involved in remitting the funds to the Hurriyat and other leaders in Kashmir for carrying out various anti-India activities such as the stone pelting".

He also said that during his visit to Pakistan, he met many of the separatist leaders and has stated that the Hurriyat also sends a list of those having received pellet injuries and the stone-pelters along with their photographs to Pakistan to get the money. He has admitted that he send a list himself to a Pakistan based separatist leader on WhattsApp. About the lists that are being sent to Pakistan he said, "every list contains names ranging from 20 to 100 victims".

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Updated Date: Mar 13, 2018 20:14:06 IST

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