THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 10 MARCH, 2019
Crackdown Before Polls in Kashmir: Yasin Malik in Jail Under PSA, Mirwaiz in Delhi for “Questioning’
SRINAGAR: After arresting the JKLF chief Yasin Malik under the ‘draconian’ Public Safety Act, authorities have summoned the moderate Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ai Geelani’s son to New Delhi for questioning in connection with the ‘terror funding’ case.
The summons are seen here as part of the BJP-led Centre’s larger crackdown on the separatists ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, the dates for which have not been announced so far due to the fragile situation in the state.
According to reports, the National Investigations Agency, which is probing the so called terror funding case of 2017, has asked Mirwaiz to appear before it for questioning on Tuesday. After issuing him summons, Mirwaiz has been placed under house-arrest at his Nigeen residence here.
For the fourth time, Syed Naseem Geelani, son of Hurriyat’s Syed Ali Geelani, has also been summoned by the agency for questioning on Monday in the case, in which several middle-rung Hurriyat leaders and a top businessman have already been arrested.
The development comes days after the NIA raided the residences of several separatist leaders in Kashmir Valley, including Malik, Naseem and Mirwaiz on February 27. The agency claimed to have recovered ‘incriminating material’ during searches.
The crackdown on separatists in Kashmir is likely to help the ruling party in upcoming general elections. The arrest of separatists is in line with the party’s agenda that calls for taking strict action against ‘anti-national’ elements. However, it is only going to aggravate the situation in the Valley.
“By summoning him (Mirwaiz), the National Investigating Agency is actually going to subject him to humiliation and intimidation, only because he is also spearheading the Kashmiri’s ongoing struggle for right of self-determination and demands that Kashmir issue be settled peacefully and in accordance with the wishes of the people so as to establish peace and tranquillity in Jammu and Kashmir,” Kashmir High Court Bar Association said in a statement after a meeting of its executive body yesterday.
The traders of downtown Srinagar have called for a shutdown in the city today against the summoning and house-arrest of Mirwaiz.
The agency registered the funding case in 2017 and arrested several separatist leaders including Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat’s Ayaz Akbar, Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Peer Saifullah, Mirwaiz’s political advisor Shahid-ul-Islam, Nayeem Khan of Jammu Kashmir National Front, Farooq Ahmed Dar and businessman Zahoor Watali.
(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR: JKLF leader Yasin Malik arrested under PSA and shifted to Kot Balwal jail, Jammu)