Kashmir unrest: NIA sends notice to Srinagar's Jamia Masjid, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq's trust to probe funding

Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sent notice to Srinagar's Jamia Masjid and an education trust run by separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to find out whether or not funds collected at the mosque are used to fuel the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

The state witnessed over seven-month-long unrest after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Muzafar Wani, in July last year.

 Kashmir unrest: NIA sends notice to Srinagars Jamia Masjid, Mirwaiz Umar Farooqs trust to probe funding

File image of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Firstpost

The notice to Moulvi Ashraf, secretary, Anjuman-e-Auqaf, which runs the affairs of the Srinagar Jamia Masjid, has come after a mob lynched Jammu and Kashmir Police DSP Mohammad Ayub Pandit outside the grand mosque in June this year.

The notices to the functionaries of the Srinagar Jamia Masjid has been issued also because the Nowhatta area, where the mosque is located has seen unprecedented protests during the last years' summer agitation in the Valley.

Even though protests have now died down in South Kashmir, which remained the epicenter of pro-freedom demonstration, protests continue and remain intense after Friday prayers in downtown areas of Srinagar including Nowhatta.

The NIA has also issued notice seeking appearance, at its office, of Mohammad Ibrahim Shah, secretary, Anjuman-e-Nusrat-ul-Islam, an education trust, which is headed by Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. The trust runs Islamic educational institutes in the areas of Rajouri Kadal, Safa Kadal and Bota Kadal in Kashmir. Both the Anjumani Auqaf and Nusrat ul Islam have been asked to Furnish their accounts of the last five years.

The investigation agency also questioned two retired bureaucrats and relatives of Farooq — Moulvi Shafat and Moulvi Manzoor — in the case. Shafat retired as chief conservator of forests and Manzoor as the chief engineer from the state government and have been associated with the Awami Action Committee (AAC), the political organisation headed by Farooq. Both Shafat and Manzoor were in New Delhi for over a week and were questioned by the NIA in the case.

The notices to the Anjuman-e-Auqaf and Farooq's education trust has attracted a sharp reaction from the separatist leader, who called it a "politcal harrasment".

Syed Rehman Shams, secretary of AAC, said, "The genuine political activities of the leaders are being suppressed. While as Anjuman-e-Auqaf is a religious institution, the educational trust is running schools and ensuring welfare of people. This is a tactics to suppress the people."

The NIA is also looking at the role of close associates of Geelani in fanning the unrest, and has recently summoned National Front chairman, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, in the case. Khan, who was recently in Delhi in connection with the investigation that is being carried out, has termed the investigations “witch-hunt".

Earlier, the state police arrested some local youth for burning schools during the unrest while many others were slapped with the Public Safety Act (PSA) to keep them in judicial custody.

NIA writes to Kashmiri dailies

Besides looking into the role of Hurriyat Conference leaders, the NIA has also written letters to some newspapers asking them to furnish details about stone-pelters whom they had mentioned in their stories. A letter dated 30 June, issued by Superintendent of Police (SP), NIA, Vishal Garg, was received by the owners of a leading Kashmir daily, where the investigation agency sought details about stone pelters.

"It is learnt that your newspaper has published some articles/news items mentioning the names and addresses of those involved in cases of stone pelting, burning of schools and damage to government property in the past one year starting from 1 July, 2016. It is requested to direct the concerned to provide the above mentioned documents/photographs/articles for investigation in the instant case," read the letter issued by the NIA.

A newspaper editor confirmed that the letter has been received and the matter was also discussed by the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG).

The NIA is also investigating the role of former militants as well as the political leaders associated with Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman, Hurriyat Conference (Geelani), in funding the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

Updated Date: Jul 18, 2017 17:24:53 IST