NIA raids 6 more trusts, NGOs in Kashmir, Delhi
Several trusts, NGOs have FCRA registrations; taking huge funds from New Delhi
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU: On the second consecutive day of its fresh operation, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday conducted raids on six more trusts and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) at nine locations in Kashmir and New Delhi and seized a quantity of documents and electronic gadgets including computer hard discs and laptops.
The Central agency had on Wednesday started its fresh operation against what it calls “terror funding through so-called trusts and NGOs” after having registered a fresh FIR on 8th of October 2020. Searches were conducted at 10 locations in Kashmir and Karnataka on Wednesday.
In a press release, NIA said that on Thursday searches were conducted at 7 locations in Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Kulgam, in Kashmir valley, and 2 locations in Delhi “in connection with the case pertaining to certain NGOs and Trusts raising funds 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 as per the directions of MHA on receipt of credible information that certain NGOs and Trusts are collecting funds domestically and abroad through donations and business contributions etc. in the name of various welfare activities such as public health, education etc. Further, these funds are sent to J&K through various channels such as hawala and cash couriers and are used to carry out and sustain secessionist and terrorist activities in J&K”, the NIA statement said.
It mentioned the names of five trusts and NGOs which were raided in Kashmir and one more searched in Delhi.
Informed sources told STATE TIMES that the NIA sleuths under a thick security cover conducted a raid at headquarters of Fallah-e-Aam Trust, operating independently but known to be affiliated to the outlawed Jammu and Kashmir Jamaat-e-Islami, at Nowgam, yards away from the PDP President and the former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s paternal house, on the outskirts of Srinagar.
Sources said that the documents seized at the complex included books on accounting, hard discs and laptops. The trust functionaries were questioned for several hours. However, none of them was taken into custody.
FAT is currently operating around 350 middle and high schools, including 300 in the Valley, with enrollment of about one lakh students and a staff of around 5,000 teachers. It is administered by one Mohammad Maqbool of Baramulla. FAT had been established by Jamaat-e-Islami and registered with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir under number 169/5/72 dated July 31, 1972.
Jamaat’s propagation and educational programmes suffered badly when it was banned during the Emergency when Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir in 1975-76. When Governor Jagmohan banned both Jamaat-e-Islami as well as its schools in 1990, all of its teachers were absorbed in a phased manner over the next 20 years as teachers in Government schools.
Two weeks after 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a major suicide attack on Srinagar-Jammu highway near Awantipora, Union Ministry of Home Affairs banned Jamaat-e-Islami on 28 February 2019 for its alleged militant connections. However FAT was spared and all of its schools were allowed to continue. In the beginning of the militancy, Jamaat had owned the terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen as its ‘military arm’ as it drew most of the cadre from that organisation. In the last many years, Jamaat, Hizb and FAT have been operating independently.
The Jammu and Kashmir Yateem Foundation (JKYF) offices were raided at Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar and in Kulgam, southern Kashmir. JKYF is also registered as a society with the Registrar of Societies under Societies Registration Act VI of 1998. Its Registration number is 3758-S. Knowledgeable sources said that JKYF has also FCRA registration with the Government of India and its funds have been flowing from different foreign countries as also from the Government of India subsidiaries in New Delhi. It has shown to have received Rs 6.20 crore from just one source, Bal Rakhsha Bharat, from 2013-14 to 2016-17.
While the JKYF has received Rs 99,44995 from Bal Rakhsha Bharat in 2013-14, it has received Rs 1,74,75902 in 2014-15, Rs 2,06,35033 in 2015-16 and Rs 1,39,48775 in 2016-17. The NIA sleuths are now verifying all of its income and expenditure. Sources said that the JKYF Chairman Muneer Ahmad Dar and other functionaries of the charity are being questioned about the activities and its funding sources.
The NIA teams also raided the house of the militant-turned-separatist Zafar Akbar Bhat who had launched his political organisation by the title of J&K Salvation Movement (JKSM), at Bagh-e-Mehtab in the Srinagar outskirts. Bhat has operated as “Divisional Commander” of Hizbul Mujahideen in 1990s. Later, when he took a political plunge, the Government provided him with several Personal Security Officers. He claimed to be a separatist political leader.
JKSM is operating as “NGO” from Islamabad, Pakistan. Is his headed by Mohammad Altaf Bhat. It has been carrying out its activities in close coordination with Baramulla-based “NGO” Voice of Victims, headed by one Abdul Qadeer. Both the organisations’ offices were raided and their functionaries questioned in Srinagar and Baramulla.
One anonymous NGO, Human Welfare Foundation (HWF), having its office at Lone Building on KP Road in Anantnag, opposite to Government Degree College for Women, was also raided by the NIA. Its chairman, Shabir Ahmad Baba of Hutmurra, Mattan, was reportedly questioned for several hours. Officials said that the search operation continued for about 9 hours. Documents and electronic devices were seized. Residents said that they had never known anything about this NGO.
Sources said that HWF is linked to HWF Delhi based at Jamia Nagar in New Delhi as also to Charity Alliance, headed by former Delhi Minorities Commission chairman Zafar-ul-Islam Khan. Offices of both the organisations located in Abul Fazl Enclave of Jamia Nagar locality of South Delhi were raided by the NIA.
In a statement by the foundation, T. Arif Ali, general secretary of HWF, said that more than 15 sleuths of the NIA had conducted raids at the organisation’s offices. “The sleuths took away some files, documents and laptops/computers of the accounts department, chief executive officer and public relations department of the foundation,” he added.
The HWF’s treasurer, Mohammad Jafar, and acting chief executive officer, Noufal P.K., are still under detention for interrogation, the senior associate of HWF informed The Wire. The foundation official underscored that all its activities were within the legal framework and come under the purview of the constitution of India.
“The foundation’s activities are totally transparent and its records are properly audited and submitted to the Income Tax department and the Charity Commissioner annually,” the statement read, adding that the foundation is ready to help NIA and other government agencies in the investigation.
Zafar-ul-Islam Khan of the Charity Alliance said that his home and offices were raided from 7 am to 11 am. “They took many papers, all laptops, hard disks of all desktops, cash found, etc. They showed me an order on their mobile, issued by one Yadav of NIA to conduct the raid linking me and my NGO with Kashmir terror,” he is reported to have said.
Denying any connection with Kashmiri militants or secessionists, he said, “It seems an attempt to implicate me in some terror or riot case.”
Earlier this year, a case was filed against Khan, alleging that he had shared a post on social media which was “provocative”, “seditious” and also purportedly attempted “to cause disharmony and create a rift in the society”.
While some media reports said that HWF is an initiative of the Jamaat e Islami Hind, the latter issued a statement denying any connection. Syed Tanveer Ahmed, the Jamaat’s media in-charge, said the HWF is a “separate legal entity and there is no legal subordination or subsidiaryship of the Jamaat ” over the foundation.