The National Investigation Agency (NIA) today carried out searches at 10 places, including the premises of non-government organisations (NGOs) and a local daily in Srinagar, in connection with a terror funding probe.
These entities were receiving money from undisclosed donors which was then being used to fund terror activities, according to an NIA release. Besides Srinagar, the raids were carried in Bandipora in north Kashmir and Bengaluru.
The raided places include the residence and offices of Khurram Parvez, Co-ordinator of J&K Coalition of Civil Society, his associates Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, Parvez Ahmad Matta, and Swati Sheshadri; Parveena Ahanger, Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, NGO Athrout, and the Greater Kailash Trust, according to the NIA release.
Several incriminating documents and electronic devices have been seized, an NIA spokesperson said. The agency was assisted by the local police and paramilitary personnel in carrying out the raids.
Mehbooba Mufti, the chief of the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party called the action a vicious crackdown on dissent.
NIA raids on human rights activist Khurram Parvez & Greater Kashmir office in Srinagar is yet another example of GOIs vicious crackdown on freedom of expression & dissent. Sadly, NIA has become BJPs pet agency to intimidate & browbeat those who refuse to fall in line— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) October 28, 2020
Anuradha Bhasin, senior journalist and Kashmir Times editor, said the raids were aimed at silencing even a whisper in the Union Territory.
NIA raids on GK office and HR defender Khurram Parvez's house are attempts to impose silence even on our whispers (and they're scared of even that). This comes a day after the disempowering land laws. Can this be just a coincidence?— Anuradha Bhasin (@AnuradhaBhasin_) October 28, 2020
In another tweet, Mehbooba Mufti alleged that the government of India wants media to write op-eds about diabetes and yoga instead of what she termed the "plunder of J&K's land & resources".
The PDP chief was referring to the notification of a law on Tuesday by the Central government, allowing urban land and immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir to be purchased by residents of any state. Earlier, only residents of Jammu and Kashmir were allowed to purchase land in the state.
The scrapping of the state's special powers under Article 370 of the Constitution last year, alongside the state's bifurcation into two Union Territories, paved the way for this change in land law.
The move set off a stream of protests from the local political parties.
"JK is now up for sale and poorer small land holding owners will suffer," former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had tweeted on Tuesday.
Union home ministry officials, however, said that with this move, the Centre had brought uniformity in land laws throughout India.