Continuing its crackdown on separatists in Kashmir, the NIA on Tuesday took custody of Masarat Alam Bhat, the alleged kingpin of stone pelting, along with Shabir Shah, chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party and Asiya Andrabi, the head of women’s secessionist group Dukhtaren-e-Millat, to question them about their role in terror funding.
The National Investigation Agency brought Bhat, Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League, to Delhi on Monday night from a prison in Jammu and Kashmir where he was lodged under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
On Tuesday, he was produced before Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Syal who sent him to 10-day custody of the NIA.
Bhat was under detention for his role in triggering protests and serial stone pelting in Kashmir Valley in 2010 for several months in which 110 protesters were killed.
Along with Bhat, the court also remanded Shah and Andrabi to NIA custody till June 14 in connection with a terror funding case.
Their custody was sought for interrogation in connection with a terror funding case which the agency registered in May 2017.
Prior to this, the NIA had brought JKLF leader Yasin Malik here in connection with the case.
In the preceding months, the anti-terror investigating agency had arrested separatist leaders including Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peer Saifullah.
Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan.
Shahid-ul-Islam is Farooq Dar’s aide and Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat. Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was arrested in August 2017.
Asiya Andrabi — chief of the banned Dukhtaran-e-Millat, a separatist organisation — has been accused of waging war and delivering hate speeches in Jammu and Kashmir. She was arrested on July 6 last year.
The NIA had on January 18, 2018 filed a chargesheet against 12 persons including Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin in connection with the terror funding case.