Ghost Of 2016 Kashmir Unrest Returns To Haunt PDP

 Forces personnel fire teargas shells towards protesters during 2016 agitation | File photo

NIA Claims Parra Paid Rs 5 Cr To Geelani’s Son-In-Law To Keep Kashmir In Turmoil

Jammu: The NIA has alleged that PDP youth leader Waheed-ur-Rahman Parra paid Rs 5 crore to the son-in-law of hard-line Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for keeping Kashmir in turmoil after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016.

In an exhaustive charge sheet recently filed in a special court in Jammu, the National Investigation Agency accused Parra, who was arrested last November, of being involved with banned militant groups like Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashker-e-Taiba.

The NIA alleged that after the death of Wani, who was killed in an encounter with the Army in July 2016, Parra got in touch with Altaf Ahmad Shah, alias Altaf Fantoosh, and asked him to ensure that the Valley was kept on the boil with widespread unrest and stone pelting.

Parra, through his lawyer, has been denying these charges and claimed he was arrested for political reasons.

He was granted bail by the NIA court, which said there was no reference to him in the original, as well as the supplementary charge sheets presented in July and October last year respectively.

The court said “there was not even whisper” regarding Parra’s involvement in the original charge sheet, adding that there was a statement in February 2020 of an accused that allegedly implicated him.

However, he was arrested by the counter intelligence wing of the CID in Kashmir in a case related to nexus between mainstream politicians and secessionists, and continues to be in jail since then. His bail was rejected by the NIA court in Srinagar.

The PDP had earlier claimed that the Centre was adopting pressure tactics for ensuring that their leaders switched sides and joined outfits enjoying patronage of the BJP.

The NIA charge sheet alleged that Parra had paid Rs 5 crore to Shah, who was also considered a close aide of Geelani.

The money was handed over to Shah, who was part of the Hurriyat Conference faction, to “keep the situation boiling in the Kashmir valley after the killing of Burhan Wani”, it claimed.

The amount was given by Parra on behalf of the PDP to Hurriyat Conference and during the turmoil, Shah was in close touch with the party’s youth leader, it claimed.

Parra was considered a close confidant of Peoples Democratic Party chief and then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was having an alliance government with the BJP in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Kashmir witnessed the longest spell of unrest post the death of Wani in 2016 with curfew and hartal for around 53 days, during which around 100 people lost their lives and thousands, including 4,000 security personnel, injured.

Shah is already in judicial custody after he was arrested by the NIA in July 2017 for allegedly being involved in racket of providing funds to separatists and militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir.

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