SRINAGAR: The family of Arsalan Feroz, resident of Zaldagar, protested in Press Enclave against the claim made by India’s National Investigation Agency on Friday 31 December.

The NIA controlled by the Union home ministry claimed to have arrested an operative of ‘The Resistance Front’ during ‘raids’ in Srinagar ‘in connection with case of Radicalising, Motivating and Recruiting Youth of J&K by LeT’ or the Lashkar-e Toiba.

Arsalan’s father Feroz Ahmad Ahanger said his son Arsalan is innocent. “He is a student of class 12th and not associated with any terrorist outfit.”

“One and a half months ago, he was arrested by the Maharaj Gunj Police Station and then they handed him over to the SOG [Special Operations Group, J&K police]. After 40 days he was released. They said he is innocent and we didn’t find anything suspicious against him. There was no FIR filed against him by the police at the time,” he said.

As per Arsalan’s family on Thursday December 30 the NIA raided their home and arrested their son. “They said we will release him within two hours. In late evening on Thursday the NIA told us we are taking him to Delhi for questioning.”

An NIA statement the following day confirmed the arrest, of “Arsalan Feroz @ Arsalan Soub son of Feroz Ahmad Ahanger resident of Zaldagar, M. R. Gunj, Srinagar in Case No. RC 32/2021/NIA/DLI during raids in Srinagar in connection with case of Radicalising, Motivating and Recruiting Youth of J&K by LeT.”

On New Year’s Day, Arsalan’s family came to Srinagar's Press Enclave to mount a protest. “He is not associated with any terror outfit. He is a 12th class student, not a mechanical engineer.”

The NIA statement to Global News Service added that “in furtherance of the said criminal conspiracy they are recruiting individuals (OGWs) [overground workers] to carry out reconnaissance of pre-determined targets co-ordinating and transporting weapons to support LeT and its frontal affiliate TRF.

“Till now 04 accused have been arrested in the instant case. Search conducted yesterday [December 30] led to recovery of several incriminating documents and digital devices. Investigation in the case continues.”

On Monday January 3 the family met PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti over his detention.

Mufti stated, “I told them there is no intervention of J&K police on this. NIA comes under the Union Home Minister so I decided I will write a letter to Home Minister over his detention, and will write to him that he is a student not a mechanic, a 19 year old boy, not 23 years as the NIA has mentioned in their statement.”