NIA raids NGO, Trust offices in Kashmir for alleged separatist activities

NIA sleuths at the office of JKCCS at Amira Kadal in Srinagar on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
NIA sleuths at the office of JKCCS at Amira Kadal in Srinagar on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Khurram, Matta detained for questioning, released

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Oct 28: The National Investigating Agency (NIA) this evening detained and later released noted Human Rights activist Khurram Pervaiz, and his associate for questioning for their alleged involvement in raising funds which are being used for secessionist and separatist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

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The rights activist was detained this evening while his associate Pervaiz Ahmad Matta was detained in the afternoon for questioning. They were later released after several hours of questioning. Earlier in the day, Khurram’s residence and office were raided by the NIA.
The NIA this morning carried out searches at 10 locations in Srinagar and Bandipora at the offices and residence of the office bearers of the NGOs and Trusts for raising funds which they allegedly use for secessionist and separatist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The raids were conducted early in the morning at these locations by the sleuths of NIA who were accompanied by Police and CRPF.
In Partap Park Srinagar, the NIA raided the Greater Kashmir office in connection with the GK Welfare Trust which runs charity and a diagnostic centre. The centre provides assistance to needy at concessional rates.
The Editor and owner of the newspaper Fayaz Ahmad Kaloo and General Manager were called to the office and questioned and some documents were taken from the office by the NIA. The raids continued for several hours.
The NIA also raided the house and office of noted human rights activist Khurram Parviaz. His residence at Sonwar and office at Amira Kadal were raided by the NIA and some documents were seized.
Khurram Perviaz is member of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS) and he documents the human rights violation cases and his organization also provides legal aid to those who are being arrested by Police in various offenses. He is recipient of several international awards and works with several international organization including those associated with United Nations.
The NIA also raided the house of former Greater Kashmir Executive Editor and member of JKCCS, Zahirudin at Magarmal Bagh in Srinagar. They also raided the house of senior journalist Pervaiz Bukhari at Pandrethan who works various international media houses including the AFP.
They also raided the office of the Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDPK). The organization works for the disappeared persons in Kashmir, pursues their cases, provides legal aid and financial assistance to the families.
They too raided the office of NGO Athrut and the residences of its office bearers Bashir Ahmad Wani. The Hilton houseboat at Dal lake was raided and searches were conducted by the NIA in connection with Athrut.
The NGO Athrut works in health sector in Kashmir and runs a free dialyses Centre for the needy patients. It also provided oxygen concentrators to patients during COVID and food to those needy at hospitals. It is doing humanitarian work mostly in medical sector.
A statement issued by the NIA said that it conducted searches at 10 locations in Srinagar and Bandipora and one location in Bengaluru in connection with a case pertaining to “certain so-called NGOs and Trusts raising funds in India and abroad in the name of charitable activities and then using those funds for carrying out secessionist and separatist activities in J&K.”
“This case was registered by NIA on 8/10/2020 u/s 120B, 124 A IPC and sections 17, 18, 22A, 22C, 38, 39 and 40 UA (P)A, 1967 on receipt of credible information that certain NGOs and Trusts are collecting funds domestically and abroad through so-called donations and business contributions etc. and are then utilizing these funds for secessionist and terrorist activities in J&K,” the NIA said.
“Those whose premises have been searched include residence and office of Khurram Parvez (co-ordinator of J&K Coalition of Civil Society), his associates viz. Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, Parvez Ahmad Matta and Bengaluru-based associate viz. Swati Sheshadri; Parveena Ahanger, Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDPK) and offices of NGO Athrout and GK Trust”, read the statement.
“Several incriminating documents and electronic devices have been seized. Further investigation in the case is on,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) has expressed concern over the pre-dawn NIA raids on Greater Kashmir premises in the Srinagar Press enclave.
Though NIA after five-hour wait said that the raid was on GK trust, GK management said that the investigating agency checked the computers and took away the hard drives.
Kashmir media continues to get targeted, demonized, vilified and raided by both the state and non-state actors for a long time now.
Kashmir media has proven record of being a professional institution that maintained textbook objectivity while maintaining its core journalistic values. This is despite the adversity of an extraordinary situation and the mounting challenges day in and day out.
KEG expressed its concern over the mounting costs of being a journalist in Kashmir. It hopes that Kashmir media is permitted to function without hassles and hurdles. This is in the interest of everybody within and outside Jammu and Kashmir.