Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar with Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Firebrand Jamaat-e-Islami leader and former chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was arrested under POTA early on Sunday morning from his Hyderpora residence and taken in a special aircraft to Ranchi in Jharkhand.
A team of doctors accompanied the Hurriyat leader to Ranchi.
The houses belonging to Geelani's two sons-in-law -- Altaf Ahmad Shah in Srinagar and Iftikar Geelani in Delhi -- were also raided.
Talking to newsmen at the heavily-guarded police control room, the state Director General of Police Ashok Suri said Geelani was funnelling Pakistani funds to frontline Kashmiri militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.
The Hurriyat Conference has called for a strike on Tuesday against Geelani's arrest describing it as a "set back to the [government's] peace initiative [in the Valley]."
Talking to rediff.com, Hurriyat Conference chairman Prof Abdul Gani Bhat said: "I think his arrest should not have happened particularly with reference to the
efforts set afoot at the global level to ease tensions between India and Pakistan and also to help resolve the Kashmir issue peacefully through negotiations."
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah declined to comment on Geelani's arrest and said the "evidence" gathered by the police would "do all the talking."
Suri said early on Sunday morning state police and income-tax officials raided nine premises in the Valley, including Geelani's Hyderpora house. "The officials seized some cash (Indian rupees and US dollars) from his house. Some documents connected to the purchase of two properties in Rawalpora, one diamond studded watch, one Tata Sumo and two ambassador cars have also been seized," he added.
The DGP said UK-based World Kashmir Freedom Movement chief Dr Ayub Thakur regularly sends money to finance militant outfits in Jammu and Kashmir. "The matter has been brought to the notice of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw," he added.
Suri said in the beginning of this year Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salah-ud-Din sent Rs 48,000,00 to Geelani through Ayub Thakur.
"It highlights the fact that Geelani has been working as an agent of Pakistan and to that extent he has betrayed the Kashmiri people," the DGP said.
The raid at Iftikar Geelani's house in Delhi began at 10 am. Iftikar, an accredited journalist, works for Kashmir Times. He also contributes write-ups to some Pakistan-based newspapers.
According to top officials of Delhi police, the raid on Iftikar's house was conducted by the income-tax department assisted by a police team from Jammu and Kashmir.
"The presence of the special cell of Delhi police which deals with anti-terrorist activities is just incidental. We have no information whether he [Iftikar] has been arrested or they are simply questioning him," said a senior police official.
According to some of the officials of the raiding party a laptop used by Iftikar has been seized.
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