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Detention of ‘activist’ Khurram Parvez, who dubbed Amarnath Yatra ‘militarised pilgrimage’, extended by 50 days: Here is what you need to know

As per NIA, Muneer Ahmad Kataria, Arshid Ahmad Tonch and Khurram Parvez worked as 'LeT operators' and actively recruited overground workers from different States in India.

On Thursday (March 24), a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court extended the detention of Kashmiri ‘activist’ Khurram Parvez and 2 others for 50 days. The trio was arrested in a terror funding case in November last year.

An application was filed before the court by the NIA, seeking an extension of the investigation period, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The central agency argued that under UAPA, the detention of an accused can be extended up to 180 days if the investigation is not completed within 90 days.

The matter was heard by Judge Praveen Singh. During the hearing, he observed that evidence could be tampered with by the accused since the investigation was still underway. Justice Singh noted, “I find that as the investigation is in progress, the chances of tampering with evidence cannot be ruled out.”

“Considering all these facts and circumstances and considering the facts stated in PP report, many of which cannot be disclosed, I find that it is a fit case where further extension for the period of investigation as demanded should be granted,” the Court stated.

It further added, “The application at hand is accordingly allowed. The detention of accused persons, namely, Muneer Ahmad Kataria, Arshid Ahmad Tonch and Khurram Parvez for the purpose of investigation, is extended for a further period of 50 days,” Court said.

Justice Praveen Singh also rejected the argument made by the lawyers for the accused that the extension of detention violated the Right to Life as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Details of the terror funding case

According to the National Investigation Agency, Islamist terror outfit Lashkar E-Taiba (LeT) has developed a widespread network of operators in India. These operators are tasked with recruiting overground workers for planning and carrying out terror activities in the country.

As per the findings of the central agency, Muneer Ahmad Kataria, Arshid Ahmad Tonch and Khurram Parvez worked as ‘LeT operators’ and actively recruited overground workers from different States in India. The trio was also in close contact with foreign handlers and had passed sensitive information about security forces and vital installations to them.

NIA informed that the three accused also identified key target locations for executing terror attacks. The central agency collected incriminating documents and pieces of evidence against them after conducting searches at several places in West Bengal, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir.

The duo, Muneer and Arshid, also received money from various individuals from several States such as Bihar, UP, Rajasthan, Telangana, Karnataka and West Bengal. They also maintained ‘fictitious’ bank accounts in the names of different individuals.

In September 2016, Khurram Parvez was arrested from his home in Srinagar for being a “threat to peace in the Kashmir Valley”. He was later released after he was detained for 76 days.

Khuram Parvez had called Amarnath Yatra ‘militarised pilgrimage’

Parvez is the founder of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), which has a history of propagating anti-India narratives in Jammu and Kashmir. JKCCS, in collaboration with Bangalore based Equitable Tourism Options (Equations), had published a controversial report in 2017, titled “Amarnath Yatra: A Militarized Pilgrimage”.

In the report, Parvez and other writers had tried to downplay the religious significance of ‘Amarnath Yatra’. It claimed that the Hindu pilgrimage is a ‘political yatra’ and allegedly a ‘manifestation of Hindutva nationalist movement.’

“In the initial 140 years or so of the Yatra’s existence, it seems to have stabilised and became a matter of routine, with not too much of an impact on the people of Kashmir. In 1985, with the resurgence of the Hindu right-wing and the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign, several shrines attracted the attention of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and especially, one of its subsidiary organisations, the Bajrang Dal, which were used to revive a fundamentalist form of Hinduism,” the report had claimed.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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