NIA Raids Trust, NGOs in Srinagar

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 NIA team leaving GK office after carrying out searches on Wednesday. KO Photo: Abid Bhat

The probe agency conducts searches at 10 places, including offices of NGOs and a newspaper as well as homes of activists and journalists.

Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday carried out searches at ten places in twin districts of Srinagar and Bandipora, including a trust owned by a newspaper owner and some non-governmental organisations, officials said.

In a statement, the NIA said that “it raided at least at 10 locations in Srinagar, Bandipora and one location in Bangalore in connection with a case pertaining to certain so-called NGOs and Trusts raising funds in India and abroad in the name of charitable activities and then using those funds for carrying out secessionist and separatist activities in J&K”.

“This case was registered by NIA on 8/10/2020 u/s 120B, 124 A IPC and sections 17, 18, 22A, 22C, 38, 39 and 40 UA(P)A, 1967 on receipt of credible information that certain NGOs and Trusts are collecting funds domestically and abroad through so-called donations and business contributions etc. and are then utilizing these funds for secessionist and militant activities in J&K,” the statement added.

The statement further stated that those whose premises have been searched include“residence and office of Khurram Parvez (co-ordinator of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society or JKCCS), his associates Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, Parvez Ahmad Matta and Bengaluru-based associate Swati Sheshadri; Ms. Parveena Ahanger, Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDPK) and offices of NGO Athrout and Greater Kashmir Trust”.

“Several incriminating documents and electronic devices have been seized. Further investigation in the case is continued,” reads the statement.

The APDP and the JKCCS are the two prominent local human rights groups which have been vocal about the rights abuses in the region.

Bukhari, a journalist, works for a foreign news agency.

Mehbooba Mufti, former J&K chief minister and the chief of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), alleged that the NIA has emerged a “pet agency” of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) “to intimidate and browbeat those who refuse to fall in line”.

She alleged: “NIA raids on human rights activist Khurram Parvez and the Greater Kashmir office in Srinagar is yet another example of the government’s vicious crackdown on freedom of expression and dissent. Sadly, NIA has become BJPs pet agency to intimidate and browbeat those who refuse to fall in line.”

She alleged that at a time when J&K’s land and resources were being plundered, the government wanted media outlets to write opinion pieces about anodyne topics such as diabetes and yoga.

“In BJP’s ‘all is well’ charade, truth is the biggest casualty. Any journalist unwilling to become a part of Godi media (those who speak in favour of the ruling party or government) is targeted,” she further alleged.

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