NIA raids 11 locations across Kashmir and Gurgaon, wins northern army chief’s praise
Lt General Devraj Anbu said the raids, aimed at plugging cross-border funding for terror and separatist activities, have helped stabilise the situation in the Valley.Updated: Sep 07, 2017, 22:07 IST
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided 11 more locations across Jammu and Kashmir and Gurgaon on Thursday in connection with its probe into the cross-border funding of separatist activities in the Valley.
The anti-terrorism agency had searched 27 locations across Kashmir and Delhi the previous day, an exercise that drew praise from northern army chief Lt General Devraj Anbu. According to the military head, raids have helped stabilise the situation in the Valley.
Among the people raided were GN Sumji, a leader of the pro-Pakistan faction of the Hurriyat Conference; prominent separatist Shia leader Aga Syed Hussain Badgami, who is part of the Hurriyat’s hardline faction; Razzaq Chaoudhary and Zameer Shiekh, two close aides of separatist Shabir Shah; and chartered accountants of businessman Zahoor Watali, who has already been arrested by the NIA.
“Details of fixed deposits amounting to over Rs 1 crore and lots of incriminating material – such as financial records, property-related documents and electronic devices – were seized during the raids,” said an NIA spokesperson.
The suspects were also questioned in this regard, he added.
In June, the NIA registered an FIR against unnamed Hurriyat leaders, members of the all-woman separatist group Dukhtaran-e-Millat, and associates of Pakistan-based outfits Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba for taking money from alleged Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. Eight people – including Altaf Shah Fantoosh, the son-in-law of hardline Hurriyat leader SAS Geelani – were arrested a month later as part of a broader investigation into allegations of cross-border funding of last year’s unrest in the Valley, which left over 100 dead.
Meanwhile, the NIA raids found a glowing endorsement in Lt General Anbu – who attested to a marked improvement in the Kashmir situation ever since the central probe agency went on the warpath. “The choking of cross-border funding by the NIA will have an effect on the agitational dynamics of terrorism as well,” he said, adding that stone-pelting incidents have already started decreasing across the Valley.
The northern army chief also claimed that last year’s surgical strikes on terror camps across the LoC had sent the message that India can hit out at its opponents “whenever and wherever it wants to”.
“Through the surgical strikes, we wanted to drive home the point that the LoC is not a line that can’t be breached. We will breach it whenever we want, and we can go across and strike whenever we need,” Anbu said after attending an investiture ceremony in Udhampur.
The Lt General said around 475 ultras were waiting to infiltrate into north and south Kashmir from the other side of the India-Pakistan border. “A large number of terrorist camps and launch pads still exist across the south and the north of Pir Panjal. Their numbers are only increasing,” he added.
Speaking on the Kashmir situation, Anbu said the intensity of the Army operations can be gauged from the fact that over 100 ultras have been killed in the last four months. He claimed that while no militant or terror sympathiser has been spared, security personnel have tried their utmost to prevent civilian casualties.
The military chief, however, maintained that the Kashmir issue cannot be resolved through armed means. “It can happen only if the state and central governments continue working in tandem, like they have been doing,” he said.
Answering a question, the Army head ruled out the possibility of a “Doklam-type stand-off” in Ladakh. Though Anbu admitted to differing perceptions regarding the line of actual control (LAC), he said India and China have several border mechanisms in place to resolve problems emanating from incursions and face-offs.
He said India has ramped up defence infrastructure on its side of the LAC over the last 10 years, although Beijing admittedly has a head start. “We are looking at building all kinds of infrastructure, from helipads to air strips and roads. We are making great strides there,” the Lt General added.