(MENAFN - Kashmir Observer) SRINAGAR — The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday issued fresh summons to Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq to appear for questioning at the probe agency headquarters in connection with a financing case registered at the behest of government of India, officials said.
According to the notice, the Mirwaiz has been asked to appear at the National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters in New Delhi on March 18, the agency officials said.
The NIA had on February 26 carried out searches at premises of Hurriyat Conference leaders, including the Mirwaiz, in connection with the case registered by the centre.
The NIA team, accompanied by police and CRPF personnel, searched residences of some of the Hurriyat Conference leaders, including the Mirwaiz, Naseem Geelani and Ashraf Sehrai, the chairman of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
The houses of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yaseen Malik, Shabir Shah, Zaffar Bhat and Masarat Alam were also raided.
Barring the Mirwaiz and Sehrai, all other leaders were jailed for some time.
The NIA had 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.
He had been asked to appear before the NIA on March 11 but the Mirwaiz had expressed his inability to join the investigation in the national capital fearing for his security in view of "conditions of hostility".
"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," counsel for the Mirwaiz, Aijaz Ahmad Dar, had said in a letter to the NIA.
If the NIA wants to question the Mirwaiz, it can do so in Srinagar and he is willing to cooperate as "he has nothing to hide", the letter had said.
The lawyer had said his client was not acquainted with the subject matter of the FIR referred to in the NIA's notice and added that the notice to the separatist leader appears to have been issued on the basis of "fallacious assumptions and misinformation solely aimed at maligning the Mirwaiz".
On his client's stand on the Kashmir issue, the lawyer said it has always been clear.
"He has always stated that the Kashmir issue is a political and human issue which needs political resolution either through implementation of UN resolutions or through dialogue amongst the three stakeholders -- India, Pakistan and people of Jammu and Kashmir," the counsel of the Mirwaiz said
The NIA probe seeks to identify the chain of players behind the financing of terrorist activities, pelting of stones on security forces, burning down of schools and damaging of government establishments.
The case names Hafeez Saeed, Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), the front for banned Lashker-e-Taiba, as an accused, besides organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference factions led by Geelani and the Mirwaiz, Hizbul Mujahideen and Dukhtaran-e-Millat.
'Lies Circulated Against Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman'
Hurriyat Conference (M) on Thursday strongly denounced the 'lies and canards' which according to it being circulated by some media channels through 'unsubstantiated leaks by agencies bent on harassing' its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
A spokesman of the amalgam said after the illegal raid at Mirwaiz residence, the media through propaganda and lies is already passing its verdict on Mirwaiz to vitiate public opinion against him in India.
'The so-called high tech system recovered from the Mirwaiz residence is a legal direct internet class B lease line free to air from a private internet provider in Regal Chowk. The tower in the premise was erected after the service provider said that for last mile connectivity between Regal Chowk and his house a tower needed to be erected,' a spokesman of the amalgam said.
'The tower would also be used for surveillance purpose by putting a PTZ camera to monitor the whole area as the police personnel at his residence had insisted on surveillance cameras. To say it was recovered and used as some kind of 'hotline' with other country is ridiculous.' The police at his residence all these years knew about it all along, the spokesman said.
He said that as Mirwaiz said in his press statement after he was not allowed a press conference after the 'illegal raid' at his residence that letterheads of Anjuman Auqaf and AAC were seized by the investigative agency and no seizure report was given to Mirwaiz despite his request to them.
'The electronic media reports that some incriminating letterheads were recovered is mischievous and a cause of concern as the agency may be tamper with what that seized and as no seizure report was given.'
The spokesman said that despite knowing that it is an attempt to harass him, Mirwaiz has said that he is willing to cooperate in the matter in Srinagar but the way it is being done and the 'propaganda campaign' being run around it besides, putting his safety in danger outside Kashmir shows that there are clearly other reasons behind it than what is being touted.