SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir (AA) – India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sealed an office of one of the factions of the pro-freedom organization, Hurriyat Conference, after a court in New Delhi ruled that allegations of anti-India activities against one of its undertrial members warranted that his property be under control of the government.
Several officials of the agency put up a notice outside the Hurriyat office in Rajbagh locality that reads that the building, which is co-owned by the undertrial leader Nayeem Ahmad Khan, has been attached (meaning seized) on the orders of the Special NIA Court in New Delhi.
Khan and more than half a dozen senior leaders have been booked and jailed since 2018 in a case that charges them with funding “terror activities” in Kashmir.
One of them, Altaf Ahmad Shah, son-in-law of the late leader of another faction of Hurriyat, Syed Ali Geelani, died of cancer while still under imprisonment last year.
The Delhi court, according to the media reports, had said in its order that the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, under which Khan has been charged, does not prevent a court from ordering the seizure of the property of any accused facing trial under this law.
At the same time, the court said that the seizure itself does not mean that the court has concluded anything about the property at the trial stage. The court noted that in the Hurriyat office, meetings had been held to “strategize different protests, funding activities of stone-throwing on security forces, recruiting of unemployed youths to carry out unlawful activities as well as (militant) activities to create unrest in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir to wage war against the Government of India.”
Hurriyat Conference has held talks on Kashmir with several Indian governments in the past. At present most of the leaders of both factions are either in prison or under detention in their homes, including the chief of the faction whose office was seized, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who has been under house detention since Aug 2019, when the Indian government scrapped the autonomy of the region.
Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – including two over Kashmir.
Many Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule.
According to several human rights groups, tens of thousands of people have been killed in the region by the Indian forces since 1989.