August 2017 News

In 31 Years, 49 Out Of 56 FIRs Against Geelani Still Under Investigation

5 August 2017
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Soft attitude of successive Governments in Jammu and Kashmir towards hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani can be well gauged from the fact that out of 56 First Information Reports (FIRs) registered against him in various police stations of Kashmir since 1986, the status of 49 continued to be under investigation despite lapse of 31 years. A dossier of the FIRs registered against Geelani prepared by the National Investigating Agency (NIA), which was probing terror funding cases of separatists, seven of whom have already been arrested, revealed that from 1986 to 2015, police had registered 56 FIRs against Geelani at various police stations of Kashmir. However, status report of the dossier, which is in possession of the Excelsior, showed that 49 cases were still under investigations. Even the two FIRs registered against Geelani in 1996, when the militancy was at its peak, are also under still investigation despite the lapse of 21 years. It was not only the previous National Conference Government headed by Dr Farooq Abdullah from 1996-2002 followed by PDP-Congress coalition Government, headed by late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Ghulam Nabi Azad and National Conference-Congress coalition Government, led by Omar Abdullah, but even the PDP-BJP coalition first headed by late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and now Mehbooba Mufti didn't order the police to expedite investigations in pending FIRs against Geelani to take the cases to logical conclusion. 'Just like previous Governments had adopted 'go slow approach' to appease the separatist leaders, the present PDP-BJP Government has also been treading the same path and hasn't taken any steps to speed up investigations in the cases registered against Geelani,' sources said. Significantly, 10 FIRs, majority of which were registered under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, during 2010 when summer unrest in the Kashmir valley had taken more than 110 lives, were also under investigations. Remarks written against one of the FIRs of 2010 said: 'according to investigating officers, the case is being dealt in a sensitive manner foreseeing a big agitation if the subject i.e. Geelani is arrested'. Out of 56 cases, the Status Report showed that Geelani was arrested only in two cases i.e. the FIR Nos. 69-1999 and 244-1999 registered at Uri and Sadar police stations. In all other FIRs, the Column 'Date of Arrest' showed 'No arrest'. In 69-1999 FIR, challan hasn't been produced in the court while other FIR was still under investigation. Meanwhile, even as the NIA dossier has mentioned number of assets against Geelani and his family members including some benami assets, his son Naseem, who works in Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) Kashmir has told the NIA that he can't appear before it as he has only Rs 500 as bank balance. In a letter written to NIA SP Vishal Garg, who had summoned Naseem to New Delhi for questioning in connection with terror funding, Naseem wanted the notice to him to be routed through Vice Chancellor of SKUAST University. 'I have less than Rs 500 with him. At the same time, I have Rs 18.8 lakh worth loan liability,' he said in the letter, adding that he would have no objection in appearing before the NIA if the notice is sent through the VC SKUAST. The NIA has summoned both sons of Geelani including Nayeem and Naseem. Geelani's son-in-law Altaf Ahmad Fantoosh has already been arrested by the NIA, apart from six other separatist leaders. Sources said the NIA has prepared dossier of assets on the name of Geelani and his family members, some of which were benami for which it wants to question his sons. The properties include an ancestral bungalow and an orchard in Sopore's Dooru, an office-cum-residence complex in Rehmatabad Colony owned by Milli Trust, a school run by the trust, land measuring around 100 kanals in Pattan, a two-storey house and a bungalow in Bagh-e-Mehtab and Bemina in Srinagar, flats in Delhi's Khirki Extension and Vasant Kunj, an eight-room house in Sanat Nagar and limestone and gypsum quarries in Uri and Baramulla, spread over around four and eight hectares of land, respectively. Sources said the power of attorney for the quarry lies on the name of a local, who has also been identified and could be called for questioning shortly. The NIA had on July 24 arrested seven separatist leaders - Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani's son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah 'Funtoosh', Ayaz Akbar Khanday, Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Peer Saifullah (all from Geelani's faction of Hurriyat), Shahid-ul-Islam (of the faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq), Nayeem Khan of the Jammu Kashmir National Front and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karatay of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front.