New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday morning raided several locations in Kashmir and Delhi in connection with a case related to a few NGOs and trusts allegedly diverting funds meant for charitable activities to “secessionist and separatist activities” in Jammu and Kashmir.
Among the NGOs raided in Delhi are Charity Alliance, headed by former Delhi Minorities Commission chairman Zafar-ul-Islam Khan, and the Human Welfare Foundation (HWF). Offices of both the organisations are located in Abul Fazl Enclave of Jamia Nagar locality of South Delhi.
The raids come a day after the NIA raided several locations in Kashmir and one location in Bengaluru, in connection with the same case.
Confirming the NIA raid, a senior associate of HWF told The Wire that the officials reached their office around 6:30-7 am and were there till 10-10:30 am.
In a statement by the foundation, T. Arif Ali, general secretary of HWF, said that more than 15 sleuths of the NIA had conducted raids at the organisation’s offices.
“The sleuths took away some files, documents and laptops/computers of the accounts department, chief executive officer and public relations department of the foundation,” he added.
The HWF’s treasurer, Mohammad Jafar, and acting chief executive officer, Noufal P.K., are still under detention for interrogation, the senior associate of HWF informed The Wire.
The foundation official underscored that all its activities were within the legal framework and come under the purview of the constitution of India.
“The foundation’s activities are totally transparent and its records are properly audited and submitted to Income Tax department and the Charity Commissioner annually,” the statement read, adding that the foundation is ready to help NIA and other government agencies in the investigation.
Meanwhile, Zafar-ul-Islam Khan of the Charity Alliance told The Wire that his home and offices were raided from 7 am to 11 am. “They took many papers, all laptops, hard disks of all desktops, cash found, etc. They showed me an order on their mobile, issued by one Yadav of NIA to conduct the raid linking me and my NGO with Kashmir terror,” he said.
Denying any connection with Kashmiri militants or secessionists, he said, “It seems an attempt to implicate me in some terror or riot case.”
Earlier this year, a case was filed against Khan, alleging that he had shared a post on social media which was “provocative”, “seditious” and also purportedly attempted “to cause disharmony and create [a] rift in the society”.
According to the NIA officials, the current case was registered on October 8 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on receiving “credible information that certain NGOs and trusts are collecting funds domestically and abroad through so-called donations and business contributions” and then using them to fund terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
While some media reports said that HWF is an initiative of the Jamaat e Islami Hind, the latter issued a statement denying any connection. Syed Tanveer Ahmed, the Jamaat’s media in-charge, said the HWF is a “separate legal entity and there is no legal subordination or subsidiaryship of the Jamaat” over the foundation.
According to news agency PTI, some of the NGOs that were raided in Kashmir on Thursday include the Falah-e-Aam Trust, a subsidiary of banned Jammu and Kashmir Jamaat-e-Islamia, J&K Yateem Foundation, Salvation Movement, and J&K Voice of Victims.
The NIA also carried out searches at multiple locations in Kashmir on Wednesday, including residences of human right activists, a journalist and the premises of NGOs and a local daily.
According to the NIA, the premises searched on Wednesday were the residence and office of Khurram Parvez, coordinator of the J&K Coalition of Civil Society, and his associates Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, Parvez Ahmad Matta; Bengaluru-based associate Swati Sheshadri; Parveena Ahanger, chairperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP); and the offices of NGO Athrout and Greater Kashmir Trust. A houseboat named H B Hilton in Dal Lake was also searched.