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NIA questions Mirwaiz; asked to appear again tomorrow; Geelani's son asked to join probe

NIA questions Mirwaiz; asked to appear again tomorrow; Geelanis son asked to join probe

New Delhi: The NIA Monday questioned Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq for nearly eight hours in connection with a case related to funding of terror groups and separatist organisations in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said here.

He was asked to appear before the agency again Tuesday, the officials said, adding Naseem Geelani, son of pro-Pakistan separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was also summoned on Tuesday.

After avoiding the first two summons, the Mirwaiz finally appeared before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) after he was assured of being provided security upon his arrival in the national capital.

The Mirwaiz was accompanied by other separatist leaders, including Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone and Maulana Abbas Ansari. During the questioning, the Mirwaiz was asked several questions related to the funding of his party Awami Action Committee as well as Hurriyat Conference, the officials said, adding that the replies were not satisfactory.

He had been asked to appear before the NIA on March 11 and March 18 but expressed his inability to join the investigation in the national capital, saying he feared for his security in view of "conditions of hostility".

In its third summons issued last week, the NIA promised him security. The NIA probe seeks to identify the chain of players behind the financing of terrorist activities, pelting of stones on security forces, burning down of schools and damaging of government establishments.

The case names Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), the front for the banned Lashker-e-Taiba, as an accused. It also names organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference factions led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the Mirwaiz, the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Dukhtaran-e-Millat.

Ahead of his appearance before the NIA, the Hurriyat Conference chairman tweeted, "In Delhi today with my colleagues for the NIA summon, efforts to malign leadership for its political stand wont work. Inspite of harassment Hurriyat will continue to seek peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. Urge people back home to stay calm and peaceful."

On Sunday night, the Hurriyat held an executive meeting and strongly condemned the move to summon the Mirwaiz.

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