New Delhi: Looking to continue the crackdown against terror funding in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Tuesday brought separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat to the national capital for questioning, ThePrint has learnt.

Bhat, general secretary of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and seen as likely successor of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has been brought to New Delhi from the Jammu jail by a team of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

He will be produced in the NIA special court Tuesday.

“The NIA will seek Bhat’s custody to question him in the Jammu and Kashmir terror funding case,” a senior official in the security establishment told ThePrint.

The 2017 NIA probe seeks to identify the chain of players behind the financing of terrorist activities, stone pelting on security forces, burning down of schools and damage to government establishments in Jammu and Kashmir.

The case names Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, as an accused. It also names separatist organisations such as Hurriyat Conference factions and the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, and terror organisations like the Hizbul Mujahideen.

Who is Masarat Alam Bhat?
Bhat was first arrested in Srinagar in the summer of 1990 and since then the 48-year-old has spent several years in jail in “preventive detention” of the J&K Police.

The Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League, headed by Bhat, is a constituent member organisation of the Geelani-led separatist group.

He shot to prominence during the 2008-2010 agitation — two decades after he began his activities — for his role in organising protests and systematic stone pelting in the Valley.
The agitation left over 120 people dead and many more injured.

Bhat was apprehended in Harwan area on the outskirts of Srinagar in October 2010 due to his anti-national activities. At the time, sources had said that Bhat had been in close touch with his “masters from across the border”.

Courtesy The Print

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