NIA Arrests PDP Youth President In Davinder Case

PDP Leader Accused Of Seeking Hizb Help In 2019 Polls

New Delhi: PDP youth wing president Waheed ur Rehman Para was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday for allegedly conspiring with Hizbul Mujahideen militants in securing their support during the 2019 parliamentary elections, officials said here.

The officials alleged that Para, who recently filed his nomination for district Development Council (DDC) elections from Pulwama in South Kashmir, was arrested for his alleged “close links” with Irfan Shafi Mir, arrested along with Hizbul Mujahideen militant Naveed Babu and suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police Davinder Singh.

According to officials, during investigation into Singh’s association with Hizbul Mujahideen militants, the NIA came across the phone records of Mir which showed that he was in close touch with Para.

The spokesperson of the NIA only gave a brief statement saying “today NIA arrested Waheed Ur Rehman Para, the youth wing leader of People’s Democratic Party, in connection with the Naveed Babu-Davinder Singh case for supporting Hizbul Mujahideen in conspiracy with the other accused persons.”

During questioning, Mir had claimed that Para had actively sought his support during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections for party candidate Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the president of PDP, the officials said.

Officials said that Para, who was being interrogated for the last two days at the NIA headquarters, was not cooperating during the questioning prompting the agency to place him under arrest.

Mir was acting as a front man for Naveed Babu and indulging in political support against monetary and other gains, the officials said.

Mir, who has emerged as a “double agent”, was arrested along with Singh and Syed Naveed Mushtaq alias Naveed Babu and accomplice Rafi Ahmad Rather.

Mir was sitting in the car driven by Singh on January 11 along with Naveed and Rather when their car was intercepted by Jammu and Kashmir Police near Qazigund on the highway connecting the Valley with the rest of the country.

A search of the vehicle led to the recovery of an AK-47 rifle, three pistols and a cache of ammunition and explosives. The NIA took over the case on January 17.

The NIA filed the charge sheet under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code against Mir, Singh, Naveed, his brother Syed Irfan Ahmad, Rather and businessman Tanveer Ahmad Wani, former president of the Line of Control Traders Association.

According to the NIA, the accused were part of a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by the Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen and Pakistani State agencies “to commit violent acts and to wage war against the Union of India”.

During his extensive questioning, the NIA said Mir told them he had met Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salauddin, his deputy Amir Khan, the operational chief Khursheed Alam and the militant group’s financial head Nazar Mehmood where the broad concept of “Bleeding Heart” was discussed.

Later during his stay in Pakistan, Mir had a meeting with ISI officers like Umar Cheema, Ahshan Chaudhary and Sohail Abbas who also tasked him to work on a new “Hawala (non-banking) channel” for transfer of money for sustaining militant activities in the Kashmir valley.

Mehbooba Alleges ‘Blackmail, Intimidation’

Later PDP president Mehbooba Mufti claimed that the charges against her party’s youth wing leader Waheed Para, who was arrested by the NIA in a militancy case, were baseless .

Taking to Twitter, the PDP chief said it was not a coincidence that Para received the NIA summons a day after he filed his nomination for DDC polls.

She also said that Waheed has no connection whatsoever with Singh and “is being falsely charged. All just to blackmail and intimidate PDP and other mainstream political parties in JK”.

“BJP milks illegal scrapping of Article 370 in every nook and corner of the country. But when it comes to Kashmiris questioning its abrogation they are locked up and punished. Everyone knows at whose behest Devinder Singh worked for. Ironic that they have the gall (sic) to blame others.”

Mehbooba said she can personally vouch for Para’s integrity, honesty and character, and it was now up to the judiciary to dispense justice and ensure he is released at the earliest .

Para, who recently filed his nomination for the District Development Council (DDC) elections from Pulwama in South Kashmir, was arrested today by NIA for his alleged involvement with the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group.

Meanwhile, a PDP spokesperson in a statement issued here accused NIA of meddling into the electoral process and influencing it in favor of the “cronies” of New Delhi.

“PDP Leadership outrightly condemns New Delhi’s latest ruthless action against its youth leader who was a beacon of change in the society and always upheld the values and principles of nonviolence and democratic engagement,” the statement said.

“Waheed’s arrest signals the level of depravity to which the BJP and RSS can go in targeting and damaging its political opponents. These actions of New Delhi will not deter the PDP. Our actions and our voices will become louder,” it added.

Taking a dig at the BJP government, the PDP spokesperson said that being a part of PAGD, the party has also come across how leaders from the alliance were stopped from campaigning and now the leaders who have filed their nominations are being targeted for trying to democratically steer the needs of their people forward.

“Installing puppets and criminalizing genuine efforts towards democratic functioning in Kashmir is how the BJP greatly undermines the spirit of democracy,” the PDP spokesperson said.

“Not only in Kashmir but everywhere across India, criminalising dissent has become the order of the day for the BJP regime. After dislodging the space for mainstream politics, caging Kashmiris in jails and in homes, BJP government has now resorted to arm twisting the mainstream politicians into obedience through covert threats and intimidation,” he added.

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