Hurriyat leaders in custody for ‘funding’ militants in Kashmir
New Delhi, India - An Indian court ordered on Tuesday that seven Kashmiri separatists be held in police custody for allegedly funding militant groups and stoking unrest in the disputed Himalayan region.
Federal agents swooped on the members of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in raids across New Delhi and Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar on Monday. The National Investigation Agency alleges the accused received money from Pakistan and funnelled it to militant groups in the tense region.
The Kashmir valley has been reeling from street violence since the killing of a popular rebel leader by Indian forces last July.
“We require time to question them for their role in violence,” Alok Mittal, a spokesman for the federal agency, told AFP.
A Delhi court on Tuesday remanded them in police custody for ten days, the Press Trust of India reported.
Police allege the separatists used the cash to ‘ wage war against India’ by organising street rebellions against troops, burning schools and damaging public property.
Those arrested include the son-in-law of top separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.
The Hurriyat said the arrests were ‘revengeful, arbitrary and illegal’ and called for mass strikes on Tuesday.
Geelani, as well as another top Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, were put under house ar- rest in Srinagar and other parts of the city were under curfew.
More than 100 protesters, mostly young men, have been killed since last year in clashes between troops and police and Kashmiris demanding independence from India.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947 but both claim the territory in its entirety.
Police escorts a bus carrying arrested Hurriyat leaders at Patiala House Court, in New Delhi on Tuesday