NIA crackdown dents Hurriyat's activities in Kashmir

File photo.

The crackdown of National Investigation Agency (NIA) on alleged terror funding to separatist leaders and their sympathisers has caused a significant dent into their activities in Kashmir.

While most of the separatist leaders, including pro-independence JKLF chief Yasin Malik, have been put behind the bars by the NIA in terror funding case, the activities of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani and moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwiaz Umar Farooq have also been curtailed. Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Altaf Funtosh and Mirwaiz’s trusted lieutenant Shahid-ul-Islam are in Tihar jail since July 2017.

Even the chairperson radical Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of Faith), Asiya Indrabi along with her associates Fehmeeda Sofi and Nahida Nasreen were also arrested and put behind the bars in Delhi’s Tihar jail.

Besides putting the top separatist leaders behind the bars, the Cente has also banned Jama’at-e-Islami J&K and JKLF recently for allegedly funnelling funds into militancy. The tough action was taken against the separatists after they “failed” to respond to the olive branch extended by the Centre to them over the years.

Following the “iron fist policy” adopted by the Center, the separatist camp has been at the receiving end as most of their leaders are either being jailed or summoned by the NIA to its Delhi headquarters for questioning in terror funding.

The government also withdrew the security cover of several separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz. The post Nigeen residence of Mirwaiz was raided by the NIA sleuths in February and he was called for questioning to New Delhi. Similarly, two sons and a grandson of Geelani were also summoned by the NIA for investigation.

The whip on the separatist camp is visible on the ground as in the past few months, most of them are using guarded language to express their sentiments on Kashmir issue. Sources said even the videos published by Hurriyat leaders were cautiously being edited to avoid any controversial remarks.

A senior police officer said the crackdown on separatists has yielded positive results so far as the ongoing Lok Sabha polls have been going smoothly and peacefully. “Despite low voter turnout, the poll process had been by-and-large peaceful. Also, the stone pelting incidents have come down and people rushing to encounter sites to help the trapped militants have drastically gone down,” he added.

However, Mirwaiz said the crackdown on Hurriyat leaders would not change the ground reality in Kashmir and claimed latest low voter turnout a testimony that where peoples priority lies.

“The matter of the fact is, that despite Hurriyat not been able to run a poll boycott campaign because of the curbs put on us, people voluntarily boycotted elections,” he said.

Sources said after NIA raids the separatist camp is facing hardships to execute their activities. “Things are not the same as it used to be. All key leaders are under arrest. It is hard for any organisation to function in such circumstances,” they said.

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