Delhi court remands seven Kashmiri activists in police custody

July 26, 2017


SRINAGAR: A vendor waits for customers during a strike on Tuesday.—Reuters
SRINAGAR: A vendor waits for customers during a strike on Tuesday.—Reuters

NEW DELHI: A court here ordered on Tuesday that seven Kashmiri leaders and activists be held in police custody for allegedly funding militant groups and stoking unrest in India-held Kashmir.

Federal agents swooped on the members of the Hurriyat Conference in raids across New Delhi and Srinagar on Monday.

The National Investigation Agency alleges the accused received money from Pakistan and funnelled it to militant groups agitating against Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan region.

The Kashmir valley has been reeling from street violence since the killing of a popular militant leader by Indian forces last July.

Hurriyat members have been accused of funding militant groups

“We require time to question them for their role in violence,” Alok Mittal, a spokesman for the federal agency, said.

A Delhi court on Tuesday remanded them in police custody for ten days, the Press Trust of India reported.

Police allege the accused used the cash to “wage war against India” by organising street rebellion against troops, burning schools and damaging public property.

Those arrested are Naeem Khan, Ayaz Akbar, T. Saifullah, Meraz Kalwal, Bitta Karate, Altaf Funtus and Saheed-ul-Islam.

The Hurriyat — an amalgam of political and religious parties fighting for Kashmir’s independence or its merger with Pakistan — said the arrests were “revengeful, arbitrary and illegal” and called for mass strikes on Tuesday.

Top Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were put under house arrest in Srinagar and parts of the city under curfew.

More than 100 protesters, mostly young men, have been killed since last year in clashes between Kashmiris struggling against Indian rule over the region and troops and police.

Militant groups have since 1989 been fighting hundreds of thousands of Indian soldiers deployed in the region, demanding independence or a merger with Pakistan. Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the nearly three decades of unrest in the region.

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017