JAMMU - A day after he was questioned by NIA in connection with militant attacks in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir, senior Congress leader and former minister G M Saroori on Wednesday said he has "nothing to hide" and does not need a certificate from anyone.
He strongly denied having any connection with Mohammad Amin Bhat alias "Jehangir Saroori", the longest-surviving militant of Hizbul Mujahideen and the brain behind the revival of militancy in Kishtwar, declared free of militancy over a decade ago but rocked by four targeted killings since November 2018.
"He (Bhat) is neither Saroori nor linked to my family. The NIA needs to probe the conspiracy why Saroori was added to his codename after 2014 although previously he was only known in police records by the alias Jehangir," the Congress vice president and three-time legislator from Inderwal constituency of Kishtwar told reporters here.
The 67-year-old leader said the National Investigation Agency served him a notice under section 160 CrPC and has not made any allegations against him.
"The agency had served this notice to over 300 persons and being a prominent public figure, I too was called by it. I have nothing to hide and I have no issue to present myself before the agency 10 times more," he said.
Saroori said he is visiting the NIA office again on Wednesday to sign his statement.
Condemning the circulation of "fabricated and baseless" stories about his alleged militant links, he said he never faced an allegation in the past.
"The NIA questioned me about Bhat... I do not know him and he is not related to my family. In fact, he is not Saroori and he belongs to a village which falls in Saroor panchayat, while my ancestral village is in Sarthal and we migrated to Kishtwar town in 1992-93 during the peak of militancy in the region," he said.
The Congress leader said he has never seen Bhat in his life.
"I am a secular leader affiliated with a secular party and a strong believer in the Constitution of our country. I do not need a certificate from anyone. The people of my area know me very well," he said, adding that he was among the leaders who condemned militancy unequivocally and worked for the unity and integrity during his long political career.
He also demanded a thorough probe into past communal riots in the district by NIA.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.