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NIA opposes Kamran Yousuf’s bail plea


New Delhi, Feb 1: The NIA today told a Delhi court that a freelance photo-journalist, arrested last year for alleged stone-pelting and other offences in Kashmir Valley, was acting as a conduit to those involved in ‘terror’ funding.
The National Investigating Agency (NIA) opposed the bail application of Kamran Yusuf before Additional Sessions Judge Tarun Sherawat, saying the allegations levelled against him were “serious”.
“He (Yusuf) was working as a conduit to those raising funds and facilitating their motives. It was all part of a larger conspiracy,” special public prosecutor and senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for NIA, said.
The agency alleged that Yusuf was an active participant in stone pelting and raising anti-national slogans and that there were some WhatsApp groups which showed he was having links with the terror outfits.
The counsel also objected to the defence lawyer calling Jammu and Kashmir a ‘conflict-zone’.
“Okay, let us call it a law and order issue,” advocate Warisha Farasat, appearing for the accused, said.
The accused sought relief saying he was working as a journalist and his presence at various stone pelting sites was merely because he was covering those incidents.
“He (Yusuf) is a young boy and trying to establish his career as a photojournalist,” Farasat said.
The court has reserved its order for tomorrow when it will also pass dicrection on taking cognisance on the charge sheet filed by the NIA against against 12 people including Lashkare-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen head Syed Salahuddin.
Yusuf, a resident of Pulwama, was arrested in September last year along with one Javed Ahmed Bhat, a Kulgam resident, by the NIA in continuation of its probe in the funding of terror and separatist activities in the Valley.
According to the agency, both were involved in stone- pelting incidents besides organising groups of youths who would throw stones at security personnel involved in counter- insurgency operations.
Yusuf, who had often been warned by the local police, was allegedly mobilising the youth and clicking their pictures for circulation in local and national newspapers, it had said.
The agency said that both the accused also circulated pictures and videos on social networking sites that sparked widespread rumours in the Valley.
Earlier, the NIA had arrested seven people in the case of alleged funding of terror and subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley to fuel unrest there.
The case was registered on issues of raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means, including hawala channels, for funding such activities.