In a major blow to separatism in the Kashmir valley, 7 Hurriyat leaders including the dreaded separatist Bitta Karate were today arrested by the NIA in connection with allegedly receiving funds from Pakistan to spread terror in the state. This funding was also reportedly used in organizing various stone pelting protests and to fund various terror groups.
The 7 Hurriyat leaders arrested are, Naeem Khan, Bitta Karate, Sahid-ul-Islam, Meharajudeen, Peer Saifullah, Ayaz Akbar and Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Fantosh who also was detained earlier in connection with this matter. Incidentally even Hafeez Saeed has been named as an accused in the FIR. Those arrested would be brought to Delhi and then be produced in front of a court on Tuesday.
This arrest reportedly stems from the fact that the NIA was unable to interrogate those arrested because they were already in preventive custody of the J&K police. This resulted in the NIA making a formal arrest request to question the accused. According to the Home Ministry, it was essential to arrest all the accused at they were essential for uncovering a larger conspiracy.
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader, Bitta Karate who is among those arrested has in the past reportedly admitted to the murder of at-least 20 Kashmiri Pandits. This was revealed in an alleged video, where he was seen boasting about never missing his target and either shooting the Kashmiri Pandits in their heads or hearts.
The NIA has been on the trail of separatist leaders for a couple of months and it looked as if it was just a matter of time before some serious action was taken. At the start of June, the NIA had raided as many as 23 locations across Delhi, Haryana and Kashmir in connection with the Pakistani funding which the Kashmiri separatist leaders are believed to receive in order to spread terror in the valley. This had been followed by the questioning and detention of Geelani’s son-in-law, Altaf Fantosh. Later it was also revealed that the NIA was investigating journalists and retired judges in connection with fueling the Kashmir unrest.