NIA: Mirwaiz refuses to get questioned in Delhi, fears for ‘hostility’

Srinagar

Days after National Investigation Agency (NIA) summoned Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to Delhi, the Hurriyat (m) chairman has asked the agency to question him in Srinagar instead of Delhi as he cannot go outside the valley due to the conditions of hostility.

The agency is investigating a case related to “terror” funding case and have summoned the son of Hurriyat (g) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Naseem Geelani, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for questioning in its ongoing probe into the “terror funding case” on Thursday.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the Awami Action Committee, and Naseem Geelani was scheduled to question at the agency’s headquarters in the national capital on Monday.

Earlier, the agency carried out searches at the residence of several separatists at multiple locations in Jammu and Kashmir. The NIA had also searched the residences of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah, president JKDFP, Mohammad Ashraf Khan, chairman Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Masarat Alam, general secretary APHC and Zaffar Akbar Bhat, chairman JKSM.

During the searches, the probe agency also recovered documents involving property, financial transactions receipts and bank account details. It seized electronic devices including laptops, e-tablets, mobile phones, pen drives, communication system and DVRs from the residences.

In response to the notice sent by NIA to Mirwaiz for the questioning, a letter has been by the advocate of J&K high court Aijaz Ahmad Dhar, on behalf of Mirwaiz to  Superintendent of Police, National Investigation Agency, CIO, NIA Head Quarters, New Delhi.

“Subject:- Response for and on behalf of Mirwaiz Mohammad Umar Farooq R/o Mirwaiz Manzil, Nigeen, Hazratbal Srinagar, to the notice dated; 06.03.2019 issued by Superintendent of Police N.I.A which came to be sent through Police Station Nigeen, Srinagar on the 9th day of March 2019,” the letter reads.

“Under the instructions of Mirwaiz Dr. Moulvi Mohammad Umar Farooq S/o Late Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq R/o Mirwaiz Manzil, Nigeen, Srinagar (Hereinafter referred to as “my client”), I stand authorized to respond to your notice dated 6th March 2019, which reads as under:-

  1. The notice in question appears to have been issued on the basis of “fallacious assumptions and misinformation solely aimed at maligning”
  2. The Mirwaiz-i-Kashmir, knowing his status and position, it appears to be an outcome of considerations other than the law. My client is not acquainted with the subject matter of FIR/NIA Crime No. RC- 10/2017/NIA/DLI, referred to in the notice. I have been further informed that my client has cooperated with the Investigating Agencies. Recently, when his house was raided on 26/02/2019, no obstruction of any kind was caused. Many documents, personal belongings, Laptop, Cell-Phone etc. were taken away but no receipt was given. Earlier also, on several occasions, close relatives of my client were called by the Investigating Agency and as a matter of fact, they too cooperated.
  3. That in order to apprise you about the activities of my client, may it be, Religious, Spiritual, Socio and Politico, I make the following statement: – My client Mohammad Umar Farooq is the Mirwaiz of Kashmir. Embedded in the cultural ethos of Kashmir, the 300-year-old institution of Mirwaiz has nurtured the spiritual and religious identity of Kashmir, fostering its tradition of harmony and goodwill within and amongst communities. They have been pioneers in spreading education in Kashmir and always stood for human, social and political rights of the people of Kashmir. In keeping with this tradition Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who is the 13th Mirwaiz of Kashmir is committed to the abiding tradition of upholding truth and justice to represent the aspirations of the people of J&K. The Mirwaiz is highly revered and a large section of people have a deep emotional connection with him. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s stand is clear. He has always stated that the Kashmir issue is a Political and human issue which needs a political resolution either through the implementation of UN resolution or through dialogue amongst the three stakeholders India Pakistan and people of Jammu and Kashmir.

He has always stated that the amicable relationship between India and Pakistan are imperative for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and for peace and prosperity in the entire region of South Asia. It is on record that in 2004 and 2005 Mirwaiz and his colleagues from the Hurriyat Conference engaged in a dialogue initiated by the then PM of India Atal Behari Vajpayee and continued by his successor Manmohan Singh. The Government of India facilitated the travel of Mirwaiz and his colleagues to Pakistan to pave the path for a peaceful resolution of the issue.

Therefore unsubstantiated attempts to link the Mirwaiz in false and fabricated cases of “terror funding” through manipulation and exercise of powers is unjustified.

It is clearly aimed to silence him through intimidation and harassment. The Mirwaiz has all along made it unequivocally clear that he firmly believes in a non-violent and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. Mirwaiz is being victimized solely for his political views advocating the cause of Kashmir. This is evident through the vicious media campaign /trial carried on the basis of unsubstantiated and ad-hoc leaks of information from the investigative agency which has vitiated the atmosphere in India. This has also led to a violent verbal and physical assault that Kashmiris are facing across India. Under the prevailing conditions of hostility wherein, there is a threat to the personal safety of my client it becomes unwise for my client to travel to Delhi. If the NIA wants to examine my client Mirwaiz Umar Farooq they can do so in Srinagar. He is willing to cooperate as he has nothing to hide. So having regard to the above, obviously, there are a few serious and vital concerns, which are as follows:-

(i) The security of my client in case your Agency insists that he travel to Delhi.

(ii) A resultant situation which may emerge in the Valley.

(iii) The possible disturbance of the fragile situation for its obvious reason that the religious sentiments of the people of the state will be aggrieved. In the totality of the circumstances, it will be reasonable and prudent, if the contemplated examination is conducted at Srinagar. Needless to state that my client has been following centuries-old traditions and legacy of his ancestors for last several decades, as such, all his activities and initiatives have been transparent and known to the people which are already in public domain. Be that as it may, in view of the prevailing environment of insecurity and the delicate situation in Jammu and Kashmir I as the counsel, on behalf of my client above named, would request you to change the venue and hold the examination in Srinagar. This response is being sent without prejudice to the rights of my client. The Copy of the Response/Reply to your notice has been retained for office use,” the letter reads.

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