Srinagar, The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a Kashmiri freelance journalist Irfan Mehraj in an alleged terror funding case, officials said on Tuesday.
NIA described Irfan , a close associate of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), detained head Khurram Parvez.
Irfan is an independent journalist and researcher based in Srinagar. His work has appeared in TRT World and various national and local media. He was formerly a researcher with JKCCS, a prominent rights group.
NIA said Irfan was arrested following comprehensive investigations into the NGO Terror funding case registered in October 2020.
“Investigation revealed that the 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 spokesperson said
The NIA said it is investigating the involvement of some Valley based NGOs, Trusts and Societies in funding of terror related activities.
“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,” the NIA said.
Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti criticized the arrest and alleged that journalists are arrested for doing their duty by speaking the truth.
“While conmen are given a free run in Kashmir, journalists like Irfan Mehraj are arrested for doing their duty by speaking the truth. Draconian laws like UAPA are abused constantly to ensure that the process itself becomes the punishment,” she tweeted.
The arrest of Irfan comes days after a designated court in Jammu framed charges against arrested journalist Fahad Shah and a university scholar for writing and publishing a “seditious” article on a news portal.