Parveena Ahangar, Founder of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), in a statement expressed her apprehension of misuse of the data seized by NIA in a raid of APDP office. The office in Hyderpora, Srinagar, was raided by NIA together with CID, Jand K police and CRPF, on Wednesday together with 9 other places in Kashmir and Bangalore.
Parveena found APDP in 1994 to provide support and access to justice to victim families of enforced disappearances in Kashmir. Her 16-year-old son, Javed Ahmad Ahangar was allegedly picked up from his home on August 18, 1990, and never found again. Since 1990, 8000-10000 civilians have been subjected to enforced disappearance by the Indian Army, notes APDP. The statement notes that the documents seized contain information on human rights violations of the security forces in the Valley and "1000 testimonies of enforced disappearances, about 400 testimonies of pellet gun injuries, about 300-400 testimonies of arbitrary detention and torture and some cases of sexual violence."
"The documents and devices seized by the NIA team contain details of the names, identities, and incidents of human rights abuses by security personnel. There is a grave apprehension that the same may be accessed by other agencies, and/or lead to adverse consequences and reprisal against victims and families who have testified and are pursuing justice," adds the statement.
The NIA in a press release claims that "incriminating documents and electronic devices were seized." The raids are following a case registered by NIA on 8/10/20 as per the directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs under sections including 124A IPC and UAPA alleging that NGOs and Trusts are collecting funds in the name of welfare activities which are used to carry and sustain secessionist and terrorist activities in J and K.
Parveena's statement clarifies that the only foreign funding received by ADPD is as grants from the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture for which detailed expenditure reports are submitted. It also notes that Section 2(j)(ii) of the FCR Act defines "foreign source" to exclude the United Nations.
NIA raided the residences of activist and Program Coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) Khurram Parvez, Parveena Ahangar, Agence France Press journalist Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, activist Yusuf Sofi, and Parvez Ahmad Matta of NGO Athrout. The offices of NGO Athrout, Greater Kashmir Trust, APDP, JKCCS, premises of newspaper Greater Kashmir and a houseboat named HB Hilton in the Dal Lake were also raided. In Bangalore, the residence of researcher Swati Seshadri, an associate of Khurram Parvez, was searched.
Subsequently, on Thursday, 7 locations in Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag & Kulgam (J&K) and 2 locations in Delhi were raided including JK Yateem Foundation, The Salvation Movement, Human Welfare Foundation, Jammu and Kashmir Voice of Victims, Falah-e- Aam Trust, and Charity Alliance. Of the organisations, only Charity Alliance founded and run by former Delhi Minority Commission chairman Zafarul-Islam Khan, is based in Delhi. The raid came a day after the Centre lifted bars for those living outside J and K to purchase non-agricultural land in the union territory.
Zafarul Islam tweeted, "My home and offices were raided by NIA this morning from 7 am to 11 am. They took many papers, all laptops, hard disks of all desktops, cash found, etc. They showed me an order on their mobile, issued by one Yadav of NIA to conduct the raid linking me and my NGO with Kashmir terror." He added, "although I have no relationship or even contacts with Kashmiri militants and have not even visited Kashmir for many years. It seems an attempt to implicate me in some terror or riot case."
"NIA raids on human rights activist Khurram Parvez & Greater Kashmir office in Srinagar is yet another example of GOIs vicious crackdown on freedom of expression & dissent. Sadly, NIA has become BJPs pet agency to intimidate & browbeat those who refuse to fall in line," Mehbooba Mufti, former J and K Chief Minister, tweeted.
"From NIA raids to lockdown offices, media in Kashmir was never under such duress as it is today. Muzzling of sane voices goes on at all fronts and this govt is shamelessly on that mission. In solidarity with @GreaterKashmir, J&Ks most trusted newspaper," tweeted Imran Nabi Dar of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference.
"Reports of NIA raid (witchhunt) on senior journalist @parvaizbukhari also coming in. This is designed to silence voices that are critical of New Delhi's settler colonialism project in #Kashmir," tweeted Kashmiri journalist Syed Zafar Mehdi.
The Kashmir Editors Guild condemned the attack on Greater Kashmir in a statement which says, "Kashmir media continues to get targeted, demonized, vilified and raided by both the state and non-state actors for a long time now" Kashmir media has a proven record of being a professional institution that maintained textbook objectivity while maintaining its core journalistic values. This is despite the adversity of an extraordinary situation and the mounting challenges day in and day out." Daily newspaper Kashmir Times' Srinagar office was also sealed by the estate's department on October 19th.