Mirwaiz won't present himself before NIA in Delhi

Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Monday told the National Investigation Agency that he will not present himself before its court because of the “hostile security atmosphere in Delhi”.

In response to the NIA summons asking the religious leader to present himself in Delhi on Monday morning, Mirwaiz’s counsel said the agency might question him in Kashmir.

The NIA had summoned Mirwaiz in alleged “terror” funding case.

However, after consulting Hurriyat (M) leaders and activists of Awami Action Committee (AAC), Mirwaiz decided not to fly to Delhi. Instead, his lawyer Aijaz Ahmed Dhar dispatched the response addressed to a superintendent of police NIA.

It reads that the notice in question appears to have been issued on the basis of “fallacious assumptions and misinformation solely aimed at maligning the Mirwaiz”.

“Knowing his status and position, it appears to be outcome of considerations other than the law. My client is not acquainted with the subject matter of FIR/NIA Crime No. RC-10/2017/NIA/DLI, referred to in the notice,” reads the response. 

“I have been further informed that my client has cooperated with the investigating agencies. Recently, when his house was raided on February 26, 2019, no obstruction of any kind was caused. Many documents, personal belongings, laptop, cell-phone etc. were taken away but no receipt was given. Earlier also, on several occasions close relatives of my client were called by the Investigating Agency and as a matter of fact, they too cooperated.”

It reads: “My client is the Mirwaiz of Kashmir.  Embedded in the cultural ethos of Kashmir, the 300-year-old institution of Mirwaiz has nurtured the spiritual and religious identity of Kashmir, fostering its tradition of harmony and goodwill within and amongst communities. They have been pioneers in spreading education in Kashmir and always stood for human, social and political rights of the people of Kashmir.”

“In keeping with this tradition, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is the 13th Mirwaiz of Kashmir, is committed to the abiding tradition of upholding truth and justice to represent the aspirations of the people of J&K.  The Mirwaiz is highly revered and a large section of people have a deep emotional connect with him. Mirwaiz’s stand is clear. He has always stated that the Kashmir issue is a political and human issue which needs a political resolution either through the implementation of UN resolution or through dialogue amongst the three stake-holders: India, Pakistan and people of Jammu and Kashmir,” it adds.

The letter reads: “He has always stated that amicable relationship between India and Pakistan is imperative for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and for peace and prosperity in the entire region of south Asia.  It is on record that in 2004 and 2005 Mirwaiz and his colleagues from the Hurriyat Conference engaged in a dialogue initiated by the then PM of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee and continued by his successor Manmohan Singh. The Government of India facilitated the travel of Mirwaiz and his colleagues to Pakistan to pave the path for a peaceful resolution of the issue.”

“Unsubstantiated attempts to link the Mirwaiz in false and fabricated cases of terror funding through manipulation and exercise of powers are unjustified. It is clearly aimed to silence him through intimidation and harassment.”

“The Mirwaiz has all along made it unequivocally clear that he firmly believes in a non-violent and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. Mirwaiz is being victimized solely for his political views advocating the cause of Kashmir.

This is evident through the vicious media campaign /trial carried on the basic of unsubstantiated and ad hoc leaks of information from the investigative agency which has vitiated the atmosphere in India. This has also led to violent verbal and physical assault that Kashmiris are facing across India.”

“Under the prevailing conditions of hostility wherein there is a threat to the personal safety of my client, it becomes unwise for my client to travel to Delhi.”

“If the NIA wants to examine my client Mirwaiz, they can do so in Srinagar. He is willing to cooperate as he has nothing to hide. So having regard to the above, obviously there are a few serious and vital concerns, which are as follows.

The security of my client in case your agency insists that he travel to Delhi. Resultant situation which may emerge in the Valley. The possible disturbance of fragile situation for its obvious reason that the religious sentiments of the people of the state will be aggrieved. In the totality of the circumstances, it will be reasonable and prudent if contemplated examination is conducted at Srinagar.”

Mirwaiz’s counsel stated that his client has been following centuries-old traditions and legacy of his ancestors for last several decades and, as such, all his activities and initiatives have been transparent and known to the people which are already in public domain. 

“Given the delicate situation in Jammu and Kashmir, I as the counsel, on behalf of my client above named, would request you to change the venue and hold the examination in Srinagar. This response is being sent without prejudice to the rights of my client,” the letter reads.