By Farooq Ganderbali
The National Investigation Agency’s summon to separatist leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, in terror funding case has unnerved the whole separatist camp in Kashmir as they feel noose is tightening around them too. The NIA crackdown on the Hurriyat leadership, their relatives and businessmen in connection with hawala money transactions from the last two years has put the separatists’ leadership on the back foot, leading to their political inactivity in the Kashmir Valley. The NIA crackdown has definitely dented Hurriyat’s operational capability on the ground
The summoning follows raid at Mirwaiz’s posh Nigeen residence last Tuesday during which a Pakistan hotline was discovered. It would be for the first time that Mirwaiz would be summoned and questioned by a central investigation agency under anti-terror laws.
The NIA is expected to write to the director general, Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to undertake technical analysis of the equipment seized from the Hurriyat leader’s house and recover data stored in them. The NIA is also likely to approach the Ministry of Telecom to find out the licensing and purchase conditions of the high-tech internet telephony equipment seized.
The central probe agency seized various incriminating materials and documents during the raids, including property papers, financial transactions receipts and bank account details. Electronic devices like laptops, tablets, mobile phones, pen drives, communication system and DVRs were also seized. The biggest seizure, however, was a high-tech internet communication set and independent technical servers from the residence of Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Mirwaiz used this special internet communication exchange to speak to his masters in Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that Mirwaiz has been actively supporting and harbouring stone-pelters and the lynching of a Dy SP Ayoub Pandit outside Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta in June 2017 occurred with his tactical consent. In 2011, a shopkeeper Tariq Ahmad Bhat died near Jamia Masjid after a man hit him on his head with a cricket bat for defying a strike call in the area. These all incidents were happening as police complacency had given confidence to law-breakers that they can get away with anything including murder.
If Mirwaiz claims innocence after seeing rope tightening around him several questions arise which he need to answer: Why didn’t he muster the courage all these years to tell his followers from the pulpit of Jamia Masjid that enough is enough? That savagery can’t be allowed and the killers who did it and those who support such acts should be ostracised.
To begin with, he should liberate Jamia Masjid from senseless stone-pelting crowds on Fridays and during every religious occasion including Shab-e-Qadar. If he doesn’t take a stand, the Mirwaiz’s pulpit is their first target.
By Farooq Ganderbali