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NIA questions editor of Kashmir newspaper in terror funding case, says ‘jihadi journalists’ in valley have help from ISI media cell

The Times Of India report also quotes NIA officials claiming that the Kashmir Editor's Guild was created by an ISI cell in Rawalpindi.

The owner and editor of a Kashmiri newspaper, known as the ‘Kashmir Reader’, was questioned by the NIA in a terror funding case, reports TOI. On Tuesday, the editor Mohammad Hayat Bhat of Pampore, Pulwama had arrived at the NIA’s Delhi headquarters for questioning.

The “Kashmir Reader” was launched in 2012 by Bhat. According to official sources, Bhat previously ran a small advertising agency called ‘Helpline Advertising Agency’ with aid from another country.

According to a municipal corporation official, in 2007, Bhat got the Srinagar Municipal Corporation hoarding installation contract for government advertisements for 10 years. He got the contract for about 150 places across Srinagar for a meagre amount.

NIA officials claim that Bhat had close ties with the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. He was said to have hired “jihadi journalists” to write for his newspaper. Some of them are now allegedly the executive members of the Kashmir Press Club. The agency also fears that the ‘Kashmir Editor’s Guild’ was created by ISI media cell in Rawalpindi.

Reports suggest that the NIA has been interrogating several Kashmir journalists for creating content that fuels hatred against the Indian government.

However, the newly elected body of the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) has condemned the TOI report, terming it as baseless. They have stated that they would be taking legal recourse over the report.

A few days ago, NIA had attached the Srinagar property of Kashmiri separatist Asiya Andrabi as ‘proceeds of terror crime’. The property has been used for the furtherance of terrorist activities of a proscribed terrorist organisation Dukhtaran-E-Millat. Asiya Andrabi was arrested last month along with several other separatists.

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