National Investigation Agency launches raids on Kashmiri mediapersons, activists and NGOs

Published : October 28, 2020 16:32 IST

Members of the National Investigation Agency during a raid at the Greater Kashmir office in Srinagar on October 28. Photo: NISSAR AHMAD

In a massive crackdown on Kashmir’s media and human rights groups, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) carried out multiple raids in Srinagar on October 28, including the office of Greater Kashmir, the Valley’s largest selling English daily.

The agency, which has been probing terror funding in Kashmir and has arrested several Hurriyat leaders in the past, raided the residence of Parveena Ahangar who heads the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons. The offices of Greater Kashmir Trust and an NGO, Athrout, were also raided, as was the house of the prominent human rights advocate Khurram Parvez. Parvez is the coordinator of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society. His associates, Parvez Ahmad Bukhari and Parvez Ahmad Matta were also being investigated.

There are reports that the houses of the journalist Parvaiz Bukhari and Hurriyat leader Muhammad Yousuf Sofi were also raided. According to the NIA, the raids are still continuing and “several incriminating documents and electronic devices have been seized”. There were a total of 10 raids until this story went to press, with nine of them in Srinagar and one on Bandipora.

Kashmir’s prominent politicians and journalists took to social media sites to condemn the crackdown. Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said: “The NIA raids on human rights activist Parvez and the Greater Kashmir office in Srinagar is yet another example of the Government of India’s vicious crackdown on freedom of expression and dissent. Sadly, the NIA has become BJP’s pet agency to intimidate and browbeat those who refuse to fall in line.”

Anuradha Bhasin, editor, Kashmir Times, said the raids on the Greater Kashmir office and Khurram Parvez’s house were “attempts to impose silence even on our whispers”. “This comes a day after the disempowering land laws. Can this be just a coincidence?” she tweeted.