Kashmir shuts down to protest Hurriyat arrests

Shabir Shah

Shabir Shah

The protest shutdown was called after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested several separatist leaders in the terror funding case on Monday.

The seven arrested leaders include Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate.

National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested seven Hurriyat leaders, six persons from Srinagar and one from New Delhi, in money laundering case.

A special court on Tuesday granted the NIA 10-day custody of seven Kashmiri separatists, saying that it will enable the agency to interrogate them to unearth the complete conspiracy.

NIA sought their custody for 18 days. This complicates the tenuous alliance between Mehbooba and the BJP and shrinks her room for manoeuvre particularly because she had kept a channel open with Geelani.

The resistance leaders said that absolutely no evidence was found against the arrestees in connection with false cases registered against them and they had been arrested as per the pre-meditated plan of the Indian government as the NIA had repeatedly told them that they would be arrested sooner or later as the Indian authorities had chose to do so. "We are actively investigating all the links to terror funding through all possible links and we will soon reach a conclusion in this regard", said a senior home ministry official, requesting anonymity. "The sensationalizing anti-Kashmir electronic media of India was also brought into play to aid and abet this drama and deceit". It was also found that there was a terror-funding pattern with the top leaders passing funds to local leaders who would pay the youth to pelt stones and unleash mob violence.

Chairmen of the two factions of the separatist Hurriyat Conference - Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who had called for the shutdown, were detained in their houses in Srinagar.

Shahid-ul-Islam is the spokesman of the moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. Some of the activists were also summoned by NIA authorities to their camp office at Humhama in Srinagar, where they were interrogated but finding nothing against them, were thereafter allowed to go.

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