Delhi court sends Kashmiri separatists in 10-day NIA custody

New Delhi


A court here on Tuesday remanded seven Kashmiri separatists, arrested a day earlier on charges of taking funds from Pakistan to sponsor terror activities and stone pelting in the Kashmir Valley, in NIA custody for 10 days.

During the in-camera proceedings, District Judge Poonam Bamba allowed the National Investigation Agency to quiz Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Peer Saifullah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate till August 4.

Allowing the NIA plea to quiz them, the court said they needed to be taken to Jammu and Kashmir and other places for investigation.

"... the ends of justice would be met by granting 10 days of police custody to enable the NIA to interrogate the accused to unearth the entire conspiracy," the court said.

Six of the separatist leaders were arrested from Srinagar on Monday and later flown to Delhi. Farooq Ahmad Dar was held in Delhi. They have been booked on charges of criminal conspiracy and waging war against India.

Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir's merger with Pakistan. Islam is a close aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Ayaz Akbar is the spokesperson of Geelani-led Hurriyat.

NIA Public Prosecutor Surender Singh told the court it was unfortunate that the accused, under the security cover provided by the government of India, were doing illegal acts to cause unrest.

The NIA said it had credible information that Hafiz Mohammad Saeed Amir of Jammat-ud-Dawah and other separatist leaders, including Huriyat Conference members, were acting in connivance with militants of Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat and Lashkar-e-Taiba and other groups to raise funds in India and abroad through illegal channels to fund terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

They entered into a larger conspiracy to wage war against India, it said.

The agency told the court that their custodial interrogation was required to unearth the conspiracy hatched in connivance with other accused and to ascertain the modus operandi of raising funds for secessionist and terror activities in the Kashmir Valley.

Their custody was also required to confront them with other accused, witnesses and seized documents, the agency said.

The NIA said searches at different locations and buildings had led to seizure of documents apart from electronic gadgets that have since been sent for forensic examination.

Defence counsel Ravi Qazi, Shikha Pandey, Rajat Kumar and Harsh Bora opposed the NIA plea for custody and said the accused have been falsely implicated and the charges of they being threat to national security were baseless. - IANS