By: Radhakrishna NS
FACING arrest for alleged links with Hizbul Mujahideen terror outfit, a senior Jammu Kashmir Congress leader’s brother Mohammad Shafi Saroori on Wednesday refuted the charges and claimed the case against him was “politically motivated”.
In a statement, Shafi Saroori, brother of the party’s state vice president and former minister Ghulam Mohammad Saroori, alleged the registration of FIR against him was aimed at maligning him and his family and said he is ready for a free and fair probe.
He said he is hopeful that truth will prevail once such an investigation is conducted.
Shafi Saroori is among the dozen people booked in two separate FIRs for their alleged links with Hizbul Mujahideen terror outfit in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir.
While six persons who were named in one of the FIRs registered last week were arrested, six others including the Congress leader’s brother are at large and efforts are on to nab them, officials said.
Saroori, a businessman and former Sarpanch, said he was in the category of protected persons till last year before his security was withdrawn by the previous government.
“I strongly refute the allegations levelled against me in the FIR No: 229/2019,” he said in a statement here, adding he and his family had undergone trauma since last more than six years as his wife was suffering from cancer and had to travel for treatment outside the state.
“The house which Kishtwar police had claimed to have used by the militants was abandoned by the family way back. It is occupied by tenants, including non-Muslims and police personnel over the last over six years,” Saroori said.
He said he is open to a free and fair probe as “I have no link with any militant or militant organization. I am hopeful that the truth will prevail once the free and fair investigation is conducted”.
As per the FIR (No:229/2019) lodged in Kishtwar police station on the weekend, the officials said Shafi and five others — Masood Ahmad Mattoo, Mohammad Muzaffar Shah, Ghulam Mohammad, Tawseef Ahmad Gandna and Syed Ahmad – were accused of providing shelter and transport to active terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen to carry out their activities.
They were also charged with conspiring with terrorists to harm the integrity of the nation besides providing information on security installations to the terrorists including Mohammad Amin alias “Jehangir Saroori” to carry out attacks, the officials said adding they were booked under various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
In the second FIR (230/2019), six persons – Nissar Ahmad Rather, Kousar Hussain,Liyaqat Ali, Mohammad Muzaffar Sheikh, Asif Hussain and Imtiyaz Ahmad Bhat – who were facing similar charges – were arrested, the officials said.
After being declared terrorism-free over a decade ago, Kishtwar district was rocked by killings of four persons including a senior BJP leader and an RSS functionary and two weapons snatching incidents since November last year.
Three hardcore terrorists including Osama who was the brain behind the revival of militancy in the district were killed in an encounter with security forces at Batote along Jammu-Kishtwar highway on Saturday.
Complimenting the security forces for the “major success”, the Director General of Police Dilbag Singh had said “a massive crackdown was launched a few days back in Kishtwar after which 41 persons with suspicious activities were picked up.
“More than a dozen out of them turned out to be involved in helping terrorist activities by way of harbouring and being associates ,” Singh said while inspecting the scene of the gunbattle in Ramban district on Sunday.