Following Raids, NIA Seizes Laptops, Documents of Zafarul Islam Khan, Welfare Foundation

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Security forces at the residence of Zafarul Islam Khan during the raid. (Photo-Clarion India)

‘NIA people said order for raid came from the very top and they were woken up at 4 am for this great task of raiding a journalist’

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – In early morning searches at several Muslim NGOs, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday took away laptops, hard disks, cash, files, and documents from the residence of former chairman of the Delhi Minority Commission author-journalist Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, and Delhi office of well-known charitable trust Human Welfare Foundation (HWF).

HWF, one of India’s leading NGOs carrying out humanitarian and development programs to fight poverty and people’s sufferings, said its treasurer Mohammed Jafar and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) were detained for interrogation.

The searches were conducted by NIA at several locations in Jammu and Kashmir and in Delhi, which includes Dr Khan’s Delhi-based NGO Charity Alliance and HWF in alleged connection with terror funding.

The raids are said to be part of an ongoing investigation against NGOs and trusts who have been accused of collecting funds and reportedly diverting it to promote secessionist and separatist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

Rejecting all the allegations, Khan, in a statement, said that there was an attempt to implicate him in terror or riot case.

“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,” said Khan after the NIA raid.

In the searches during the four hours, the NIA took away “many papers, all laptops, hard disks of all desktops, cash found etc”. Khan said he was told there was order from a higher authority to conduct the raid linking him and his NGO with Kashmir terror. The NIA sleuths had jumped the wall of his house to enter his home.

“Thrown to stone age. No laptop, no mobile, no desktop. NIA people said order for raid came from the very top and they were woken up at 4 am for this great task of raiding a journalist. They had no patience. They jumped the wall to enter my house like they did with Chidambram,” Khan tweeted.

There are apprehensions that Khan would be summoned regarding the case in future and he may be arrested, too.

In an official statement, T Arif Ali, general secretary of HWF, said that 15 sleuths on Thursday early morning, came to raid its Delhi-based office in Abul Fazal Enclave and they took away “some files, documents and laptops/computers of the account department, CEO’s chamber and public relations department of the Foundation”.

“The Foundation’s activities are totally transparent and its records are properly audited and submitted to the Income Tax department and the Charity Commissioner annually,” said Ali, “the Foundation is ready to help NIA and all government agencies in investigation”.

Ali explained his NGO’s welfare activities and the kind of works being done by the HWF for the weaker sections of society.

He said that the HWF’s core areas of activity are education, health, employment, developing water sources like installation of tubewells, digging of wells, orphan care, relief and rehabilitation works since last 12 years throughout the length and breadth of the country. The focus areas of the HWF were poverty-stricken areas in North and Northeast region of the country where a large number of people were living below the poverty line.

Ali said that the Foundation was also working for women empowerment through self-help groups and livelihood projects. It is successfully running many hospitals, schools and dispensaries in different parts of the country.

He said that the HWF conducted all its activities within the legal framework and within the purview of the Constitution of the country. Foundation is an umbrella body under which several registered NGOs are working in the country.

Apart from HWF and Dr Khan’s Charity Alliance, NIA said that in continuation of Wednesday’s search operations, it conducted searches at 7 locations in Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Kulgam (J&K) “in connection with the case pertaining to certain NGOs and Trusts raising funds in the name of charitable activities and then using those funds for carrying out secessionist and separatist activities in J&K”.

“This case was registered by NIA on 8/10/2020 u/s 120B, 124 A IPC and Sections 17, 18, 22A, 22C, 38, 39 and 40 UA(P)A, 1967 as per the directions of MHA on receipt of credible information that certain NGOs and Trusts are collecting funds domestically and abroad through donations and business contributions, etc. in the name of various welfare activities such as public health, education etc. Further, these funds are sent to J&K through various channels such as hawala and cash couriers and are used to carry out and sustain secessionist and militant activities in J&K,” the NIA statement said.

The agency said that the premises of  NGOs/Trusts/Foundation that were searched include JK Yateem Foundation at Srinagar and Kulgam, The Salvation Movement at Srinagar, run by Zafar Akbar Bhat, Human Welfare Foundation at Delhi and Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir Voice of Victims at Baramulla, run by Abdul Qadeer, Falah-e- Aam Trust at Budgam, run by GM Bhat.

“Several incriminating documents and electronic devices have been seized during searches. Further investigation in the case is continued,” said the Investigation agency. However, the agency did not talk about any arrest and detention while the HWF said that its treasurer and CEO were detained.

In Kashmir, the premises of English Newspaper Greater Kashmir were also raided. The Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) expressed its concern over the pre-dawn raid on the newspaper’s trust and management. The agency checked the computers and took away hard drives.

“Kashmir media continues to get targeted, demonised, vilified and raided by both the state and non-state actors for a long time now,” said KEG.

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