New Delhi, Jan 18 : The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday filed a 12794-page chargesheet against twelve persons, including Jamat-d-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, for “conspiring to wage war” against the government by carrying out “secessionist activities” in Jammu and Kashmir.
The chargesheet, according to a press release today, was filed in the NIA Special Court, Patiala House Courts Complex, in NIA No.RC-10/2017/NIA/DLI.
“The 12,794 page Chargesheet has been filed under sections 120B, 121, 121A and 124A of the Indian Penal Code and sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 38, 39 and 40 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967,” said the release.
The accused persons charge-sheeted today are Hafiz Saeed, Syed Salahuddin, Aftab Ahmad Shah@ Shahid-ul-Islam, Altaf Ahmad Shah @ Fantoosh, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar @ Bitta Karate, Mohammad Akbar Khanday, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Kamran Yusuf and Javed Ahmad Bhat.
“The National Investigation Agency registered this case on 30.05.2017 and the first arrests were made on 24.07.2017. During the course of investigation, the NIA teams conducted searches at over 60 locations spread across the States of Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana and Delhi and seized over 950 incriminating documents and over 600 electronic devices. During the investigation, over 300 witnesses were examined,” said the release.
The investigation, it said, also brought out that the secessionist and separatist leaders belonging to the All Parties Hurriyat Conference have established a network of cadres throughout Kashmir Valley who “incite the youth to attack all symbols of Indian sovereignty, especially Indian security forces who are deployed there for the maintenance of law and order.”
“Under the overall guidance and instructions from Hafiz Syed, Syed Salahuddin and their Pakistani handlers, the separatist leaders of Jammu & Kashmir, and stone-pelters form strategies and action-plans to launch violent protests and communicate the same to the masses in the form of ‘protest calendars’ released through newspapers, social media and religious leaders, creating an atmosphere of terror and fear in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.”
Further investigation in this case shall continue, it said.
The agency said analysis of documents and digital devices had established that the Hurriyat leaders had established a network in the Kashmir Valley to incite the youth to “attack all symbols of Indian sovereignty, especially Indian security forces”.
“Under the overall guidance and instructions from Hafiz Syed, Syed Salahuddin and their Pakistani handlers, the separatist leaders and stone-pelters form strategies and action plans to launch violent protests… creating an atmosphere of terror and fear in Jammu and Kashmir.”
The NIA said its probe “based on scientific and oral evidences has conclusively established that for carrying out terrorist and subversive activities, the gang of the accused persons is receiving funds from Pakistani agencies through hawala conduits such as Watali”.
It said funds for such activities were also raised “by generating illegal profits from LoC barter trade by doing under-invoicing and cash-dealings”.
“The money is routed through fake and bogus companies floated abroad and remitted to the Hurriyat leaders in Jammu and Kashmir. All these funds are then pumped by them into fuelling mass violence and terrorist activities so as to cause damage to public property, disrupt the essential services throwing normal life into chaos with an intention to threaten the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India”.
The case dates back to 2016 when violent protests rocked the Valley after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter.
ISIS claims responsibility for Colombo blasts, city on high alert
Colombo: Islamic state has claimed responsibility for coordinated bombings in Sri Lanka which killed 321 people and injured about 500 others, the group’s AMAQ news agency said on Tuesday.
The group did not give evidence for its claim.
Sri Lanka on Tuesday placed all police stations in Colombo on high alert as police were hunting for an unidentified container truck and a van, believed to be carrying explosives.
A warning issued by the Director of Security at the Colombo Harbour said intelligence had found information that an unidentified container truck and a van carrying a potential explosive device was heading towards Colombo. Search operations are currently underway at the Colombo Harbour for the potential threat.
The alert came as the island nation observed a day of national mourning for over 320 people killed in a series on blasts on Easter Sunday.
Phase III Lok Sabha polls: Anantnag to go to polls today
Srinagar, Apr 22: The Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu and Kashmir goes to the polls in the third phase on Tuesday even as the security forces face a serious challenge to ensure that the democratic process passes off peacefully.
Due to the overwhelming security concerns, the Anantnag parliamentary constituency comprising four districts — Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama — will vote in three phases. Polling in Anantnag will be held on Tuesday, followed by Kulgam (April 29) and Pulwama and Shopian (May 6).Over 100 additional companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have been deployed to augment an already existing large contingent of state police and CAPF personnel deployed on poll duty in this constituency.
Because of the serious security challenges in the constituency, by-poll could not be held in Anantnag after Mehbooba Mufti, President of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), resigned the seat in 2016 to become the state’s Chief Minister following the death of her father, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
In addition to the presence of foreign militants, homegrown militancy is a big challenge here for the agencies maintaining ‘law and order’.
In the last four years, a large number of local youth, majority of them well-educated and belonging to upper middle class families, have joined militant ranks in the four districts of Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama.
The problems for the security personnel have been compounded by stone pelting at armed forces during security operations against holed up militants, thousands of mourners turning out to attend funerals of slain militants and the failure of the mainstream politicians to move out even in areas from where they were voted to the state Assembly in 2014.
Due to security issues, the voting process here would be held between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., instead of the 6 p.m. deadline observed in the other constituencies of the state.
While there are five main candidates in the fray from Anantnag — PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Congress’ Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference (NC), Sofi Yusuf of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Chowdhary Zafar Ali of the Peoples Conference (PC) — the key contest here is between Mufti and state Congress President Mir.
Out of the 16 Assembly segments under the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, the PDP had won 11, Congress 2, NC 2 and CPI-M 1 in the 2014 Assembly elections.
Given these statistics, Mufti’s victory may look like a cakewalk, but the ground situation has undergone a sea change since 2014.
The failed ruling alliance between the PDP and the BJP in the state has hit the former’s prospects in Anantnag as it has done in the rest of the Muslim majority Valley.
Mufti has taken a huge gamble by deciding to fight the Lok Sabha polls from here. Her victory or defeat would seriously impact the prospects of her party in the state Assembly elections likely to be held later this year.
Her problems have been compounded by Mir throwing his hat in the electoral arena. Mir has committed vote banks in Dooru, Shangus, Kokernag and Devsar segments.
While it is expected that the voter turnout would be good in these segments, there is a possibility of thin voter turnout in the segments where the PDP believes its vote banks exist.
Given this reality, the final result could see a photo finish between Mir and Mufti.
Poll campaign by different parties here has been generally muted because of security constraints.
How many voters come out to vote on Tuesday would be keenly watched. But no matter what, the security forces will have their tasks cut out to ensure that polling is conducted smoothly in this volatile constituency.
SRI LANKA BOMBINGS: Death toll rises to 290
Colombo, Apr 22: The toll in the eight coordinated bomb blasts that rocked Sri Lanka during Easter celebrations rose to 290, police said on Monday.
Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara told The New York Times that 24 people have been arrested in connection with the deadly explosions in which nearly 500 people were injured on Sunday.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the reporters that the authorities had prior “information regarding a possible attack” before the bomb blasts ripped through churches and hotels in Colombo and two other towns in the island nation.
“While this goes on we must also look into why adequate precautions were not taken,” Wickremesinghe was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.
The police said that the investigation will examine reports why the intelligence community failed to detect or warn of possible suicide attacks ahead of the blasts, the worst violence in Sri Lanka since the end of the civil war 10 years ago.
They also said that an improvised pipe bomb found close to Colombo’s main airport late on Sunday, was successfully detonated. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The Prime Minister said, “So far the names that have come up are local,” adding that the investigators are looking into whether the attackers had any “overseas links”.
According to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, at least 17 people from eight countries, including three from India, were among those who were killed in the serial blasts. The dead included five citizens of Britain, three Danes, two each from China and Turkey and one each from the Netherlands and Portugal, reported CNN.
The ministry said that 19 foreign nationals injured in the attacks are receiving treatment at Colombo National Hospital.
Following the bomb attacks, the Sri Lankan government had imposed a 12-hour island-wide curfew from 6:00 pm on Sunday.
After a discussion with heads of security forces and all other departments regarding the current security situation in the country, President Maithripala Sirisena had announced that the government and private schools would remain closed till Tuesday.
In addition, steps have been taken to temporarily block all social media accounts until the investigations are concluded.
‘National Tawheed Jamath’ suspected plotters: Sri Lanka
Press Trust of India
Colombo, Apr 22: A local outfit identified as the ‘National Tawheed Jamath’ is suspected of plotting the deadly Easter blasts that killed 290 people and wounded 500 others in the worst terror attack in the country’s history, a top Sri Lankan minister said on Monday.
Health Minister and the government spokesman, Rajitha Senaratne, also said that all suicide bombers involved in the blasts are believed to be Sri Lankan nationals.
Speaking at a press conference here, the minister said that the Chief of National Intelligence had warned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) regarding the probable attacks before April 11.
“On April 4, international intelligence agencies had warned of these attacks. The IGP was informed on April 9,” Senaratne said.
He said that the local outfit identified as the National Tawheed Jamath – a radical Muslim group – is suspected of plotting the deadly explosions.
“There may be international links to them,” he added.
Senaratne sought resignation of police chief Pujith Jayasundera in view of the major security lapse.
Rauff Hakeem, a government minister and the leader of the main Muslim party – Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, said that it was lamentable that no preventive action had been taken despite the inputs.
“They have known this…, the names have been given, identified, but (they) took no action,” he added.
Two Sri Lankan Muslim groups – the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama and the National Shoora Council – have condemned the blasts and offered condolences to the Christian community.
They have urged that all culprits be brought to book.
Seven suicide bombers were involved in eight blasts that targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and Zeon Church in Batticaloa when the Easter Sunday mass were in progress. The explosions also struck three five-star hotels in Colombo – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury.
No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks, but police have so far arrested 24 people.