SRINAGAR: Moderate Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is being questioned by the National Investigations Agency at its New Delhi headquarters in connection with the ‘terror funding’ case.

The senior separatist leader arrived in the national capital today morning along with key leaders of the moderate Hurriyat Conference after the agency assured that his security concerns will be taken care of.

“All executive members of Hurriyat are accompanying Mirwaiz. He has nothing to hide. We were all concerned about his safety and it was decided that we will accompany him to Delhi,” one of the executive members of Hurriyat told The Citizen.

Despite being issued three summons in the so called funding case, Mirwaiz had refused to travel to the national capital, citing security and religious grounds. Besides being chairman of his faction of Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz is also the chief cleric of Kashmir.

Responding to the second summon, his counsel had written to the agency that his client (Mirwaiz) was willing to cooperate with the investigators, but requested that the venue of questioning be shifted from New Delhi to Srinagar.

After an emergency meeting yesterday, Mirwaiz announced that he will be travelling to national capital in order to face the NIA investigators.

“In Delhi today with my colleagues for the NIA summon ,efforts to malign leadership for its political stand wont work. Inspite of harassment #Hurriyat will continue to seek peaceful resolution of the #Kashmir issue,urge people back home to stay calm and peaceful (sic),” Mirwaiz said in a tweet, soon after landing in New Delhi.

The terror funding case, termed by the separatists and even mainstream parties of Kashmir as ‘witch-hunt’ against the ‘freedom-loving Hurriyat leadership’, dates back to 2017 when Nayeem Khan, who heads Jammu Kashmir National Front, was purportedly caught on camera boasting about Hurriyat’s capabilities to promote unrest in Kashmir.

The ‘confession’ sparked uproar in Kashmir, where the PDP-BJP government was in power, as well as across the country, culminating with the arrest of nearly dozen top Hurriyat faces, a prominent businessman and a photojournalist by the agency.

While the photojournalist Kamran Yusuf was granted bail by a court in Delhi for want of sufficient evidence, the separatists have been languishing in Tihar Jail with properties linked to some of them attached by Enforcement Directorate.

The multi-agency crackdown on Kashmiri separatists, the banning of Jamaat-e-Islami and JKLF, and a sweeping arrest spree in recent weeks and months is seen as last ditch attempt by the BJP-led central government to prevent anti-India protests ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha and state assembly elections.