Terror funding: NIA files chargesheet against LeT, Hizbul chiefs

Terror funding: NIA files chargesheet against LeT, Hizbul chiefs

Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, Hizbul Mujahideen head Syed Salahuddin and 10 others were on Thursday named by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a chargesheet for funding terror attacks with an aim to secede Jammu and Kashmir.

The 12,794-page chargesheet, which also named eight Hurriyat leaders and two stone pelters, was filed in a Delhi court after an investigation that spanned over months, during which over 300 "witnesses" were examined, and searches were conducted in around 60 locations.

Those chargesheeted included separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani's son-in-law Altaf Ahmad Shah, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Bitta Karate, Mohammad Akbar Khanday, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Geelani's personal assistant Bashir Ahmad Bhat.

Two suspected stone pelters Kamran Yusuf, a photojournalist and Haved Ahmad Bhat have also found their names in the chargesheet.

According to the NIA, the Hurriyat leaders and two stone pelters prepared "strategies and action plans" under the "overall guidance and instructions" from Saeed and Salahuddin for launching "violent protests" in Kashmir.

Plans were also devised by them to communicate these to public in the form of "protest calendars released through newspapers, social media and religious leaders, creating an atmosphere of terror and fear" in the Valley.

"The threadbare scrutiny and analysis of the around 950 documents and digital devices seized during searches, the NIA said, established that accused were instrumental in 'carrying out terrorist attacks and orchestrating violence, stone-pelting and other subversive and secessionist activities'. It was part of a 'well-planned criminal conspiracy' to achieve their objective of secession of Jammu and Kashmir," the chargesheet said.

"Separatist leaders belonging to the Hurriyat Conference have "established a network of cadres" to incite the youth to attack all symbols of Indian sovereignty, especially Indian security forces," it added.

The NIA said the accused were receiving funds from Pakistani agencies through hawala conduits like Watali for these activities.

They were also raising funds through illegal means by under-invoicing and cash-dealings from LoC barter trade.

"The money is also routed through fake and bogus companies floated abroad and remitted to the Hurriyat leaders in Kashmir. All these funds are then pumped by them into fuelling mass violence and terrorist activities so as to cause damage to public property, disrupt essential services throwing normal life Kashmir into chaos with an intention to threaten the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India by striking terror in the minds of the public and by waging war against the country," it said.

The NIA had in May last year registered a case following increasing incidents of stone pelting and the "systematic" burning of schools in Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July 2016. 

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