SRINAGAR: A day after raids at the premises of a senior AFP journalist, the NIA and J&K Police have expanded their search to include other suspects in the alleged terror funding case.
They raided nine locations in the Valley and one in Delhi on Thursday in connection with a probe related to NGOs and trusts diverting funds meant for charitable activities to "secessionist and separatist activities" in the state, officials said.
Several incriminating documents and electronic devices were seized, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said in a statement.
Those whose premises were searched include Falah-e-Aam Trust, Charity Alliance in Delhi, Human Welfare foundation, JK Yateem Foundation, Salvation Movement and JK Voice of Victims.
The case was registered on October 8 under various sections of the IPC and the UAPA on receiving "credible information that certain NGOs and Trusts are collecting funds domestically and abroad through so-called donations and business contributions" and then using them to fund terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.
Thursday's raids followed the major crackdown which happened the day before on alleged at 10 locations in the valley, including the office of a leading English daily, NGOs and the residences of social activists.
NIA sleuths accompanied by CRPF reached the office of the leading English daily Greater Kashmir in Srinagar on Wednesday morning.
“The team searched the premises of the newspaper office. They searched the documents and other material available in the office,” a source said.
Simultaneous raids were also carried out at the office of NGO Athrout, and the residence of human rights activist Khurram Parvez (co-ordinator of J&K Coalition of Civil Society), and his associate Parvez Ahmad Matta, senior AFP journalist Parvez Bukhari and APDP chairperson Parveena Ahangar.
A police official privy to the raids said the investigators confiscated telephones, laptops and storage devices from journalist Bukhari and rights defender Parvez. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The residence of Hurriyat activist Mohammad Yousuf Sofi alias Salman in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district was also raided.
An NIA spokesperson said searches were conducted at 10 locations in Srinagar and Bandipora with a case pertaining to certain NGOs and trusts raising funds in India and abroad in the name of charitable activities and then allegedly using those funds for carrying out secessionist and separatist activities.
The NIA claimed to have recovered several incriminating documents and electronic devices during the searches. Sources said that the money came through hawala channels from different parts of the country and abroad and were being used to fund terror through NGOs.
Politicians questioned the authenticity of the raids.
“NIA raids on human rights activist Khurram Parvez and Greater Kashmir office in Srinagar is yet another example of GoI’s vicious crackdown on freedom of expressions & dissent,” PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.
The raids came days after Indian authorities sealed the office of an English daily, Kashmir Times, causing outrage from journalists and condemnation from global media watchdogs. Authorities said the office was sealed due to administrative reasons but journalists said the move aimed to throttle the free press.
The Kashmir Editors Guild in a statement Wednesday said it was concerned over the “mounting costs of being a journalist in Kashmir” and hoped the region’s media is “permitted to function without hassles and hurdles.”
Reporters Without Borders, a global media watchdog, in August said “press freedom violations by the Indian authorities in Kashmir is unworthy of a democracy.”
(With Agencies Inputs)(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)