Mirwaiz's questioning significant: MHA

Appearance of separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has paved the way for a thorough probe into charges of militancy funding and conspiracy made against the Hurriyat leader, officials said Tuesday.

Mirwaiz appeared before the NIA for the

second consecutive day for questioning in connection with a case related to the alleged funding of militancy groups and separatist organisations in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Appearance of Mirwaiz before the NIA proves the government’s determination to establish that Kashmiri separatist leaders will have to be held accountable to the law of the land. It has paved the way for thorough investigation into charges of militancy funding and conspiracy against the Hurriyat leader,” a home ministry official said.

The questioning of Mirwaiz by the NIA has been considered a significant development as he had been trying to evade the questioning by the probe agency by resorting to various stratagems, he said.

“These include not responding initially to the NIA summons at all, and later saying he was ready to be examined by the NIA in Srinagar. However, eventually he had to follow the summons and travel to New Delhi to answer questions from the NIA. This is in line with the government’s firm stance that separatist leaders cannot claim immunity and that they will be held accountable for laws of the land,” the official said.

The NIA had conducted raids in February 2019 on allegations of militancy funding and money laundering on the premises of Mirwaiz and other Hurriyat leaders like Yasin Malik and Naseem Geelani, the son of Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

The investigation against Naseem and others is proceeding as per law.

Recently, legal hurdles had been cleared for resumption of trial in Jammu against Yasin Malik in the case of attack by JKLF militants in 1990 on IAF personnel which led to the death of four persons, officials said.

“Yasin Malik had exploited the provisions in law to inordinately delay the trial. But relentless efforts by the home ministry have finally resulted in Malik’s arrest and transfer to Jammu jail. His plea for transfer of trial from Jammu to Srinagar has also been quashed,” another official said.