The National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India has carried out multiple raids in Kashmir in connection to a terror funding case.
India currently administers over 43% of Kashmir. There are multiple insurgent forces in the region that have been locked in conflict with the Indian Army for decades. A disputed election in 1987 became the stimulus that led to the rise of many of the modern insurgent groups. India has claimed that Pakistan aids in much of the insurgency but the latter has denied those charges. Reports have also emerged about the human rights abuses that allegedly take place in the Kashmir valley and neighboring regions, which are being carried out by the Indian Army. In the recent years, the violence has increased even further in Kashmir. This was largely triggered when influential militant Burhan Wani was killed in 2016.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India. It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.
According to officials from NIA, the raids were carried in connection to terror funding case against Kashmiri separatists and others. A total of 12 locations were raided in Srinagar, Baramulla and Handwara.
On July 24, 2017, seven people were arrested by the NIA. These people have been accused of waging against India. If found guilty, then these offences are punishable under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. These seven who were arrested have also been accused of creating unrest in the region through anti-India demonstrations and bandhs.
According to media reports, the raids were carried out in the residence of an influential businessman called Zahoor Watali. The homes of Watali’s relatives were also raided. Additionally, Watali himself was reportedly questioned by agents from NIA. In the past two months, he has been summoned to the NIA’s Delhi headquarters nearly 25 times. He has been described as cooperative but one official has admitted that he is not “spilling the beans.”
An official spoke to India Today anonymously noting, “The case is regarding terror funding so we expect to get some incriminating documents related to fueling unrest in the Valley.”
Our assessment is that these raids indicate that the government has not yet been able to fully stop terror funding that the separatists are receiving. It’s extremely important for the government to check the flow of funds for the state to effectively combat insurgency. The actions of NIA are commendable as they have started checking the Bonafides of some businessmen too.