Delhi, India: On March 22, a Delhi Court remanded Khurram Parvez and Irfan Mehraj to National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) custody for 10 days in a case registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The Principal District and Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma remanded both to NIA’s custody till April 1.
On March 20, NIA arrested Irfan Mehraj from Srinagar in the NGO Terror Funding case. The NIA said, “Following comprehensive investigations into the NGO Terror funding case registered in October 2020, the National Investigation Agency arrested Irfan Mehraj from Srinagar (J&K) yesterday (20.03.2023),” in its press release on March 21.
The NIA said that Irfan Mehraj was a close associate of Khurram Parvez and collaborated with Khurram Parvez’s Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS). NIA’s investigation revealed that JKCCS was “funding terror activities in the valley and had also been in propagation of secessionist agenda in the Valley under the garb of protection of human rights.”
The NIA revealed that it is investigating the involvement of some valley-based NGOs, Trusts and Societies in the funding of terror-related activities in the NGO Terror Funding case. “Some NGOs, both registered as well as un-registered, have come to notice collecting funds domestically and abroad under the cover of doing charity and various welfare activities, including Public Health, Education etc. But some of these organisations have developed links with proscribed terrorist organizations, such as Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) etc,” NIA added.
The Court said that in view of facts disclosed in NIA’s remand applications and also to “unearth incriminating material and other links concerning their unlawful activities” besides the aspect of confrontation with digital evidence, both the accused persons are remanded to NIA custody for 10 days, Live Law reported.
However, some organisations have protested Khurram Parvez and Irfan Mehraj’s arrest in the NGO Terror Funding case claiming that it is “another tactic of intimidating journalists in Kashmir.” Aakar Patel, chair of the board at Amnesty International India, said, “The arrest of Kashmiri journalist Irfan Mehraj under terror charges is a travesty. The arrest is yet another instance of the long-drawn repression of human rights and the crackdown on media freedoms and civil society in the region of Jammu and Kashmir. The stifling of the rights to freedom of expression and association continue unabated in Kashmir.”
It is pertinent to note that the NIA arrested Khurram Parvez for anti-national activities, including collecting information on vital installations and deployment and movement of security forces, procuring secret official documents and passing the same to his LeT handlers through encrypted communication channels for monetary consideration, India Today reported. NIA filed a chargesheet against Khurram Parvez on May 13, 2022.