NIA’s raids on NGOs, activists and journalists in IIOJK denounced » Kashmir Media Service

Jammu and Kashmir terror funding case: NIA raids 16 locations in Srinagar, DelhiIslamabad, October 31 (KMS): Human rights activists and groups have condemned the raids of India’s notorious National Investigation Agency (NIA) on non-governmental organisations, activists and journalists in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Indian capital New Delhi and the southern city of Bengaluru.

India’s crackdown on Kashmiri Hurriyat, leaders and activists has escalated since August 2019 when New Delhi scrapped the special status of the Muslim-majority IIOJK.

Among those raided were Kashmir-based rights activists, Khurram Parvez and Parveena Ahangar, the office of the Greater Kashmir newspaper, the house of Agence France-Presse’s (AFP) Kashmir correspondent, Parvaiz Bukhari, and the properties of former Delhi Minority Commission Chairman, Zafar-ul-Islam Khan, in New Delhi. The groups raided by the NIA included the Falah-e-Aam Trust, Charity Alliance, Human Welfare Foundation, JK Yateem Foundation, Jammu and Salvation Movement, and J&K Voice of Victims.

Zafar-ul-Islam Khan, who heads the New Delhi-based Charity Alliance, told Al Jazeera that the NIA’s allegation of his NGO funding terror in IIOJK was a “Himalayan lie”.

“Apart from some relief work like sending medicines, blankets and giving some very small monetary help to flood victims, we have no work worth mention in Kashmir,” he said.

Calling the raids “well-planned and choreographed”, he said he had no contacts with Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders and has not visited the territory in many years.

The former Delhi state minority panel chief said the government led by right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is targeting him for his report on the religious violence in the city earlier this year – the worst in decades, which killed at least 53 people, most of them Muslims.

The NIA raids were also criticised by global rights watchdogs.

The Human Rights Watch on Friday said the BJP government was using counterterrorism operations to silence peaceful dissenters, human rights activists, and journalists by bringing in politically motivated criminal cases against them.

“Using authoritarian tactics against outspoken critics and journalists needs to stop,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW’s South Asia director.

Another statement released by the Amnesty International on Thursday said there was a worrying pattern” in India where anti-terror and foreign funding laws were “being repeatedly and deliberately weaponised to intimidate, harass and restrict the ability of civil society groups from operating.

“These raids are an alarming reminder that India’s government is determined to suppress all dissenting voices in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Amnesty’s Julie Verhaar.

The raids came days after Indian authorities sealed the office of an English daily, the Kashmir Times, causing outrage from journalists and condemnation from global media watchdogs.

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