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NIA quizzes Kashmir separatist leaders over alleged funding from LeT

The separatists were questioned over the role of LeT chief Hafiz Saeed and hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in subversive activities Photograph: (Getty)

PTI Srinagar May 21, 2017, 06.31 AM (IST)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday quizzed three Kashmiri separatists in connection with its probe into the role of Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in subversive activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

The NIA team, headed by the Additional Director General, had asked Nayeem Khan, Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karate and Gazi Javed Baba to appear before it over an expose on a television channel where they had claimed they received funds from Pakistan.

After their initial reluctance, the three separatists fell in line and were questioned separately on Friday by the team of NIA, which named them in its Preliminary Enquiry (PE), which precedes the filing of a case.

Besides the three separatists, the NIA has also named Hafiz Saeed and Syed Geelani in the preliminary enquiry.

Nayeem Khan, who was suspended by Geelani from Hurriyat today, had purportedly confessed to receiving money from Pakistan-based terror groups in a sting operation on television.

He later held a press conference, claiming the video was "doctored" and challenged that the channel run his full video instead.

"The video is doctored, simulated and a collage of bits and pieces. It does not have a shred of credibility. The agenda of Indian media is to defame the Kashmir struggle and pro-freedom leadership," he said.

Geelani suspended Nayeem Khan's National Front from the basic membership of the Hurriyat Conference until the clarification of all the related issues comes to fore and the truth comes out, a spokesman for the hardline leader said.

The NIA took cognisance of the news item related to a recording of conversations between a TV reporter and leaders of separatist groups operating in the Kashmir Valley. 

In its preliminary enquiry, the NIA alleged that the separatists were receiving funds from LeT chief Hafiz Saeed to carry out subversive activities in Kashmir, including pelting security forces with stones, damaging public property and burning schools and other government establishments.

The NIA team will gather evidence collected by the Jammu and Kashmir Police about the burning of schools as Khan had claimed that the educational institutions were targeted as per the plans hatched from across the border.

 The schools were targeted last year after banned Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8.



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