Sting Row: Geelani Suspends Nayeem Khan From Hurriyat
SRINAGAR: Veteran leader Syed Ali Geelani has suspended membership of one of the senior most constituent parties of his Hurriyat whose chief was dragged into a cash-for-unrest sting operation carried out by a national news channel known for its anti-Kashmir slant.
Nayeem Ahmad Khan, chief of Jammu Kashmir National Front which is affiliated with Geelani led Hurriyat Conference, was caught on camera boasting about organising and financing public protests during the prevailing crisis in the region.
"The suspension will come into force with immediate effect in Srinagar and Hurriyat chapter of Azad Kashmir ... until the clarification of all related issues come to fore, the membership will remain suspended,” said Geelani, in a statement after a meeting on the issue was yesterday foiled by the police who prevented people from going in or coming out of Geelani's residence.
The sting carried out by India Today network and broadcast earlier this week, showed Khan apparently sitting at some location in India's capital New Delhi. According to sources, he was "called to receive donation on behalf of people who wanted to help the people of Kashmir".
"I have nothing to hide. My struggle is an open book. I am being targeted by Indian agencies for upholding and propagating the sentiment of freedom in Kashmir," Khan said, adding that he is open to any inquiry to prove himself innocent.
Khan, a provincial president of Geelani-led Hurriyat, dismissed the sting as 'doctored' and 'fake', daring the network to play the entire tape. In a hurriedly called press conference in Srinagar, he said India and its agencies want to defame the struggle in Kashmir.
"The TV channel has run a doctored video to defame the Kashmir movement. The video has been run in bits and pieces and everything taken out of context. Pakistan is a basic party to the Kashmir dispute as the neighbouring country supports the Kashmir movement," he said.
Coming to Khan's defence, Geelani said the Indian media is "biased" and it "should not be trusted". “They are working for Indian agencies and as mouthpiece for fanatical forces."
"Alhough Nayeem Ahmad Khan in a press conference has raised questions over the veracity of said clip but in pursuance of special power vested in me as chairman and until the clarification of all related issues come to fore, the membership will remain suspended.”
A team of the premier, National Investigations Agency, has arrived in the capital Srinagar to probe the matter further. The team is likely to summon Khan for questioning. Dismissing the allegations of having recieved funds to fan unrest in Kashmir, Khan said: “We generate funds at the local level to help victims of the conflict."
During the past couple of months, India Today network has been running brazenly anti-Kashmir, agenda-driven stories, targeting the voices of resistance in Kashmir. In their previous sting, the network purportedly caught a group of boys who confessed to have recieved cash for pelting stones at Indian forces.
However, it later turned out that the boys were paid and offered jobs by the channel's undercover reporters to make those statements.