Shops and other businesses across the Valley remained close whereas only private cars and auto-rickshaws were seen plying on the roads.
Srinagar: Kashmir Valley remained shut on the second consecutive day on Thursday in response to a call issued by separatists against the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raids on their homes and offices and the legal challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution.
Shops and other businesses across the Valley remained close whereas only private cars and auto-rickshaws were seen plying on the roads. “Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL)”, the alliance of key separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, which had given the call for the two-day strike, termed the response it evoked in the Valley and parts of Chenab valley of Jammu region as “satisfactory”.
The NIA sleuths had in connection with an alleged terror-funding case raided the homes of Mr Mirwaiz and Mr Malik to conduct searches on Tuesday. Mr Malik is currently under “preventive custody” of the J&K police. The NIA conducted searches also in the homes of Shabir Ahmed Shah (who is currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail), Muhammad Ashraf Sahrai, Nayeem Geelani (elder son of separatist patriarch Syed Ali Shah Geelani) and Zaffar Akbar Bhat.
The officials of the NIA have said that documents related to “funding, coded messages and jihadi literature” were seized during these raids. The agency has also claimed of having recovered incriminating documents, including property details, documents relating to financial and monetary transactions, electronic devices, mobile phones and SIM cards during these searches.
Mr Mirwaiz said that during these “thorough coercive searches”, certain items were confiscated by the NIA from his Srinagar home and office. These items included his laptop and phones, hard drives from his office computers, press releases of Hurriyat Conference and letterheads of Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid, records of Hurriyat-recommended Kashmiri students studying in Pakistan medical.
He said that later in its press release the word “incriminating evidence” was used by the NIA and it was a matter of concern as there was nothing “incriminating” that was taken. “As I was not given a seizure memo, any mischief can be done,” he said. He further said, “It was also said that ‘a high tech internet communication’ was also recovered. This actually is a simple Internet lease line by a private company that is commonly used in media offices and at homes for good and uninterrupted Internet use. The word recovered is part of the propaganda to give an impression as if it was something hidden that has been discovered.”
The NIA on Wednesday also raided eleven places across Kashmir Valley to conduct searches in connection with the Pulwama terror attack.
Those whose houses were searched include Sajjad Bhat, the alleged Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) cadre, whose recently purchased Maruti Suzuki Eeco vehicle was used for the February 14 bombing in which over 40 CRPF personnel were killed and several others wounded.
The house of another JeM militant Mudassir Ahmed Khan was also raided, the police sources said. Searches were also carried out at the houses of “active over-ground workers” of JeM in Tral area in southern Pulwama district where “incriminating materials” including diaries containing “coded writings” were seized, an official of the NIA which is probing the deadly terror attack said.