PDP youth leader Waheed Para arrested again after NIA court sets him free, Mehbooba targets Centre

Published : January 12, 2021 12:41 IST

PDP youth president Waheed Para (right) in a file picture. Photo: NISSAR AHMAD

In what is being perceived as deliberate targeting of Kashmir’s mainstream leaders, just about 48 hours after a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court granted bail to Waheed ur Rehman Para, youth president of the Peoples Democratic Party, he was arrested again on January 11 by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in a separate terror case.

Para, 32, a PDP leader from South Kashmir and close aide of party president Mehbooba Mufti, was arrested by the NIA on November 25, days ahead of the District Development Council elections, in an alleged terror-funding case and sent on a 15-day NIA remand. The NIA said the arrest was made to investigate Para’s alleged links with two Hizbul Mujahideen militants arrested earlier last year. The NIA alleged that Para was in touch with one of the arrested militants in 2019.

The special NIA court granted bail to Para on January 9. It observed that there was not even a “whisper” about Para’s involvement in the commission of offences in the original charge sheet presented by the NIA. However, Para, along with Muneer Ahmed Sofi, a People’s League leader and member of the Hurriyat Conference, was arrested again in a separate case registered by the Counter Intelligence Kashmir (CIK), a cell under the J&K Police. The two were produced before a court in Jammu which remanded him to police custody until January 18. Earlier, the CIK had registered an FIR against Para in a case relating to politicians’ alleged nexus with militants.

The police stated: “Taking advantage of the cover available to them because of their membership or position or affiliation with the political parties, these unscrupulous political parties’ functionaries have variously supported the terrorists and secessionists, directly and sometime through middleman, by way of paying money, organising select physical attacks through terrorist elements, facilitating their movements, transporting their fighting hardware and importantly, saving them from range of legal and coercive actions of law enforcement agencies....”

Mehbooba Mufti described the development as a “brazen contempt of court” and sought Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha's intervention in the matter. “Despite NIA Court granting bail to @parawahid after thorough court proceedings, he has now been detained by CIK in Jammu. Under what law & for what crime has he been arrested? This is brazen contempt of court. Request @manojsinha_ ji to intervene so that justice is served", she tweeted.

Mehbooba Mufti further said that she expected more such assaults on her party. “Delhi is rattled by PAGD so I expect this false campaign to intensify in the coming days. Many PDP leaders are already arrested & I expect the situation to worsen. But this will not break our resolve to stand united & fight for whats rightfully ours,” she said in a tweet.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration had cracked down on mainstream leaders on December 21, a days ahead of the DDC election results, when around 20 of them belonging to different political parties were arrested. Naeem Akhtar, senior PDP leader and former J&K Cabinet Minister, remains in custody. On January 5, Akhtar’s daughter, Shehryar Khanum tweeted: “It has been 16 days since my father @shangpal was taken away in the middle of the night. We, as his family, even two weeks later still don’t know why he stands detained or when he will be released. Not a word by the admin. Nothing.”