The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday conducted searches at 17 locations in seven districts of Jammu and Kashmir in connection with the Jamaat-e-Islami terror funding case, an official of the agency said. The raids were carried out in Anantnag, Kulgam, Ganderbal, Bandipora and Budgam districts in the Kashmir division and Kishtwar and Jammu districts in the Jammu division of the Union Territory, a spokesperson of the NIA said. “Searches conducted today included the premises of office bearers and members of the JeI (Jamaat-e-Islami) and various incriminating documents and electronic devices were seized from the premises of the suspects,” the agency said.
Earlier, the NIA had searched 61 places in 10 districts of Kashmir and four districts of Jammu during raids on August 8 and 9. In February 2019, the Centre banned the JeI for five years under anti-terror laws on grounds that it was “in close touch” with militant outfits and was expected to “escalate secessionist movement” in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. A notification banning the group under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs after a high-level meeting on security chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Hundreds of JeI activists were arrested in a major crackdown across Jammu and Kashmir following the ban, which came just months ahead of the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and its bifurcation into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in August 2019.
The NIA said a case was registered on February 5 in pursuance of an order from the Ministry of Home Affairs relating to separatist and secessionist activities of the JeI, an unlawful association under the UAPA, even after its proscription on February 28, 2019. The members of the organisation have been collecting funds domestically and abroad through donations particularly in the form of ‘Zakat, Mowda and Bait-ul-Mal’ purportedly to further charity and other welfare activities. But these funds are instead being used for violent and secessionist activities, the NIA said.
“The funds raised by the JeI are also being channelised to proscribed terrorist organisations such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and others through well-organized networks of JeL cadres,” an NIA spokesperson had said “JeI has also been motivating impressionable youth of Kashmir and recruiting new members (Rukuns) in J&K to participate in disruptive secessionist activities,” the spokesperson had said. The NIA said the investigation in the case continues.