‘Vicious Crackdown on Dissent’: Mufti Slams NIA Raids on NGOs

Jammu & Kashmir political parties and Kashmir journalists have condemned the move.

Published
India
3 min read
Former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti. 
i

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday, 29 October, conducted raids on six NGOs and trusts across nine locations in Delhi and Srinagar, in connection with a terror funding case, a day after raids on the premises of the Greater Kashmir newspaper, and other entities and individuals.

Jammu & Kashmir political parties and Kashmir journalists have condemned the move.

J&K former chief minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti called the action a “vicious crackdown on freedom of expression and dissent,” in her tweet.

National Conference (NC) Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said that the move was “muzzling of sane voices on all fronts”.

Journalists Slam NIA Move

Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin said that the raids conducted by the NIA were an attempt to impose silence even a whisper in the union territory.

“The crackdown is indeed worrying,” Bhasin tweeted.

Bhasin told The Print that the NIA action is a clampdown on Kashmir media.

“They picked up the editor (Fayaz Kaloo) of largest daily of J&K couple of years ago. Now they are going after other journalists too. Then they are also raiding human rights organisations which comprise law-abiding citizens. There is an organisation which is searching for its disappeared family members and all they have demanded is justice and peace. To accuse them of terror funding is shocking,” said Bhasin.

Bhasin’s Srinagar office was evicted earlier this month.

Kashmir journalist Syed Zafar Mehdi said: “This is designed to silence voices that are critical of New Delhi's settler colonialism project in Kashmir,” Mehdi tweeted.

Athrout Kashmir, one of the NGOs raided by NIA, in a statement said that they have provided the required details to the agency and are co-operating accordingly.

APDP Statement

The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) in a statement said that it does not receive any foreign funds.

“A team of officers from the NIA, CID and JK Police, accompanied by CRPF officers conducted a raid in the office of APDP in Hyderpora, Srinagar. Parveena Ahangar and Saima were taken from home to the APDP office by the team and security personnel. Parveena Ahangar, Sabia and Saima were present in the office during the raid. All information and material sought by the raiding team were provided to them. The team examined all documents relating to APDP’s work. They subsequently seized several documents and some electronic devices. Praveena Ahanagar’s mobile phones were also seized,” APDP said in the statement.

The organisation also stated that there was a “grave apprehension” over misuse of sensitive information, including names and addresses of victims present in documents seized from APDP and apprehension of reprisal against victims of human rights violation, Wire reported.

Kashmir Editors’ Guild Condemns Move

Kashmir Editors’ Guild (KEG) on Wednesday condemned the raids conducted by the NIA in multiple locations in Srinagar.

A statement issued by KEG said: “Kashmir media continues to get targeted, demonised, 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.”
The statement by the Kashmir Editors’ Guild

The guild also expressed concern over the “mounting cost” of being a journalist in Kashmir. The Guild stated that it hopes that Kashmir media is permitted to function without “hassles and hurdles”.

What Had Happened?

On Wednesday, the NIA had raided multiple locations, including the premises of Greater Kashmir .

According to an Indian Express report, these raids were based on “credible information that certain NGOs and Trusts are collecting funds domestically and abroad through so-called donation and business contributions, etc, and are then utilising these funds for secessionist and terrorist activities in J&K”.

The searches also included the residence and office of Khurram Parvez (co-ordinator of J&K Coalition of Civil Society), his associates Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, Parvez Ahmad Matta and Bengaluru-based associate Swati Sheshadri. Parveena Ahanger, Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDPK), and offices of NGO Athrout and GK Trust were also raided.

The agency had claimed that “several incriminating documents and electronic devices have been seized,” reported The Indian Express.

(With inputs from Print, Wire)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!