New Delhi, Apr 8: After avoiding the first two summons for security reasons, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Monday appeared before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with an alleged funding case.
The Mirwaiz, who was provided security upon his arrival at the Indira Gandhi airport, was accompanied by other Hurriyat Conference leaders, including Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone and Masroor Abbas Ansari.
Quoting an NIA source privy to the investigation, news agency IANS said that Mirwaiz was asked about his bank accounts, movable and immovable properties and his relatives residing in India and abroad and their businesses.
The source said that the Hurriyat leader was questioned till 8 pm (Monday).
The Mirwaiz was asked to appear before the NIA on March 11 and March 18 but expressed his inability to join the investigation in the national capital, saying he feared for his security in view of ‘conditions of hostility’.
Ahead of his appearance before the NIA, the Hurriyat Conference held an executive meeting on Sunday night and strongly condemned the move to summon the Mirwaiz.
It said its chairman was ‘being deliberately harassed and there was an effort to criminalise leadership for their political stand’.
It said the Hurriyat is a coalition of political parties striving for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and to associate it with anything to do with terror is ridiculous and a deliberate victimisation for their political ideology.
“It’s unfortunate that while they have always maintained that Kashmir is a political issue that needs resolution peacefully and humanely and always worked towards that end… yet rulers of the day are resorting to such tactics to harass and intimidate them under the garb of legality,” it said.
According to the statement, despite having nothing to do with the matter, the Mirwaiz through his lawyer had said he was ready to cooperate in the investigation but asked the agency to hold it in Srinagar as he had several genuine concerns, including on security in New Delhi.
“It is unfortunate that they did take into account the other concerns and are insisting on investigation in Delhi. The meeting decided that they will all accompany the Mirwaiz to New Delhi for the investigation,” it said.
The Mirwaiz or any member of Hurriyat Conference has nothing to do with the ‘so called funding case and it is sheer vindictiveness on the part of authorities’, it said.
The NIA had on February 26 carried out searches at premises of several leaders, including the Mirwaiz.
The probe agency questioned two maternal uncles of the Mirwaiz, Maulvi Manzoor and Maulvi Shafat, and his close aides last year. Both Manzoor and Shafat are retired senior government officers.
The Mirwaiz had informed the NIA that he was not acquainted with the subject matter of the FIR referred to in its notice and also added that the notice appears to have been issued on the basis of ‘fallacious assumptions and misinformation solely aimed at maligning’ him.
Voter turnout in Bijbehara, Anantnag a lesson for Mehbooba : Omar
Kulgam, Apr 24: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said that the low voter turnout in Anantnag and Bijbehara is a lesson for PDP and Mehbooba Mufti.
He asserted that the ensuing elections are significant since it provides the people of the state an opportunity to reveal how passionately they feel about their identity including Art370, Art 35-A.
Addressing two separate public meets at Chawalgam and Homeshalibug, Kulgam party vice president said that the threats of BJP-RSS to abrogate Art 370, Art 35A will be defeated as the people of the state will not allow them succeed in their nefarious designs. “ Today state is facing an assault on its special status from all sides, however all the machinations of the forces as are inimical to our status will fall flat if the people of our state show resoluteness in protecting the identity and integrity of our state. This time people across the state have taken it upon themselves to trounce the efforts as are hell bent to destroy the special constitutional status of the state,” he said adding, “Today’s elections is not about choosing MLA’s, today our state is fraught with a challenging situation. The need of the hour is to send a representative to Parliament who can fight for the interests of state, the situation that the state is facing today demands of having a credible voice at Delhi who can work tireless both within and outside parliament for the protection of Art 370, Art 35-A. Seeing the scope of work and the challenges we are facing, we considerately fielded Retired Justice Hasnain Sb from Anantnag constituency. He is known for his pronounced judgments on Art 370, Art 35 A. He boasts the necessary political and legal acumen to deal with the situation.”
While highlighting the importance of Art 370, Art 35 A, Omar said, “It is needless to say how important Art 370, Art 35-A are for the state and its people. Today the people of our state are masters of its own land. They work on their land, and derive their sustenance from it. God forbid, if these articles are done away with, the consequences that will follow shall be beyond our comprehension. The people of the state will stop to cleave to a respectable denomination which Sher- e- Kashmir bestowed upon them through famous land to tiller reforms and other people friendly measures. Our kids would not be able to derive various scholarships from government. The youth of our state will cease to be the sole beneficiary of jobs in government sector. Keeping in mind the far-reaching consequences of abrogation of our status, we deemed it fit to have Hasnain Masoodi represent us in parliament from Anantnag.”
Mehbooba demands release of Yasin Malik
Srinagar, Apr 24: Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday demanded the release of separatist leader Yasin Malik.
“Yasin Malik should be released immediately as he is really unwell. Also other members of Jamaat-e-Islami should be released. Sadhvi Pragya on whom there are several serious accusations has been set free,” Mufti said.
Delhi’s Patiala House Court Wednesday sent Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik to judicial custody till May 24 in connection with a 2017 alleged funding case.
Mehbooba also lodged a note of protest against a slew of measures brought about in the valley recently.
“After the encounter, families of militants are harassed and the cross LoC trade which was taking place through Muzaffarabad has also been stopped. The National Highway is closed for traffic for two days in a week and security forces are interfering in the daily life of people. We are protesting against all these issues,” she said.
Elections in the state are staggered in five phases which began on April 11 and culminate on May 6. The counting of votes will be done on May 23.
Rains lash Kashmir; weather to improve from today
Srinagar, Apr 24: Rains continued to lash Kashmir since Tuesday evening, bringing the average temperature down in the valley.
The local meteorological department predicted improvement in weather conditions from Thursday evening.
The rains began on Tuesday evening and continued intermittently till this evening. The rains in the Valley led to dip in the temperature.
Deputy Director MeT, Mukhtar Ahmad said that the weather conditions in Kashmir would improve from Thursday evening.
He said the light rainfall would continue intermittently till Thursday evening following which there will be improvement in the weather.
Ahmad said that in plains the weather would improve from Thursday afternoon while in higher reaches it will start improving from the evening.
Meanwhile, an official in Meteorological department informed that Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 12.0 degrees Celsius Tuesday night against 8.9 degrees Celsius normal for this time of the season.
The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir received 3.9 mm of rain since overnight till 8:30 hours, he said.
The official said that Qazigund, the gateway town of Kashmir, recorded a low of 10.8 degrees Celsius and had a rainfall of 6.8 mm while the mercury in Kokernag town in south Kashmir settled at a low of 9.2 degrees Celsius and it had 8.6 mm of rains during the time.