Despite age bar, Qayoom to appear before NIA in Delhi today

Srinagar—Even as he could have taken plea against his appearance before the National Investigation Agency in line with provisions of section 160 CrPC under which he has been summoned, Kashmir High Court Bar Association President Mian Qayoom has decided to travel to New Delhi and appear before the investigation agency in connection with a case registered at the behest of government of India.  

Section 160 CrPC, provides that no male person above the age of ‘sixty-five years’ shall be required to attend at any place other than the place in which such male person resides.

“He is an open book and has nothing to hide. While law demands NIA investigating officer to question him in Srinagar because he is more than 67 years of age, Mian Qayoom decided to appear before the NIA in New Delhi,” a lawyer close to Qayoom said. 

In a statement issued here, Kashmir High Court Bar Association said that calling Qayoom as a witness to Delhi appears to be a part of conspiracy. “Otherwise there was no reason as to why he could not be questioned or his statement recorded at Srinagar. It is to humiliate respectable people and to send negative signal against them in society,” a spokesman of the lawyers’ body said. 

It has already clarified that Qayoom has inherited a house at Bulbul Bagh, Barzulla Srinagar from his father and has also constructed a house on proprietary land after obtaining due permission from the Municipal authorities, besides a flat at Delhi. He has no property in Jammu or at Hyderpora, Peerbagh, Zakura, Lal Bazar, Lasjan Pantha Chowk or a shopping complex at any unknown place as alleged by a News channel. “It appears that India Today has maliciously published the news to malign and character assassinate the Bar President as such the Bar Association has decided to institute appropriate legal proceedings against the news channel very soon,” a spokesman of the Bar Association said in a statement issued here.  

He also said that it has come as a surprise to people of the state, in particular the legal fraternity, that M. A. Qayoom has been summoned as a witness in FIR RC-10 registered by NIA. “We believe that real intension of calling him as a witness in the case is to prevent him from, pleading case before Supreme Court of India in ‘Pellet Gun Case’; preparing case against challenge to Article 35-A of the constitution, pending before Apex Court, pleading the cases of detainees before High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, in particular Asiya Andrabi and others; and performing various activities relating to resolution of Kashmir dispute; to say only a few,” the spokesman said, adding, “We see no basis for calling him as a witness, when he has nothing to do with the allegations involved in FIR RC-10 nor is he acquainted with any circumstance of the case or investigation.”

The lawyers’ body also strongly condemns the “method and manner, in which NIA is conducting the investigation.”

“The Bar Association also puts it on record that should M. A. Qayoom be not treated with respect and or be dealt with in contravention of law, the Bar Association will institute legal proceedings against NIA before the J&K High Court,” the spokesman said, adding, “We have reason to say that for quite sometime, well designed plan and conspiracy has been conceived to involve all persons who actively are seeking resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with wishes of the people.” Registration of case followed by arrested, harassment of relatives of political leaders, public men, negative publicity intended to downgrade credibility, are all outcome of this conspiracy, it said. 

The lawyers’ body also strongly condemned the method and manner, in which NIA was conducting the investigation. 

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