Greater Kashmir editor being questioned by NIA in Delhi

The NIA is part of a crackdown on people and organisations in Valley who, according to the govt, are involved in ‘terror funding’

By TT Bureau in New Delhi
  • Published 8.07.19, 3:18 AM
  • Updated 8.07.19, 3:18 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Greater Kashmir Editor-in-Chief Fayaz Ahmad Kaloo (Pic: www.greaterkashmir.com)

The National Investigation Agency has been questioning the editor and owner of the Greater Kashmir, the largest circulated English newspaper in Kashmir for over a week, sources have said.

Newspaper sources said the questioning of its editor Fayaz Ahmad Kaloo began on Monday at NIA’s head office in Delhi.

The agency also quizzed the paper’s senior functionary Rashid Makhdoomi. While he has since returned home, Kaloo’s questioning was still under way, the sources said on Saturday.

NIA spokesperson Alok Mittal did not respond to the call of The Telegraph but official sources said Kaloo was summoned for questioning on June 28.

“He (Kaloo) did not turn up initially but had to go on Monday after he received a call from the agency,” a source said.

Kaloo was the president of the Kashmir Editors Guild but he resigned from its basic membership last month after discovering “that the members of the guild don’t support and cooperate in furthering the basic purpose of this body”.

No newspaper in Kashmir, including Kaloo’s own newspaper, has reported the development related to his questioning and different journalist bodies there have also maintained a stoic silence.

The questioning came days after police arrested Ghulam Geelani Qadri, editor of the Urdu daily Afaaq, in a three-decade-old case, which led to allegations from the journalist community in Valley that it was an attempt to muzzle the media there. He is out on bail.

In February, governor Satya Pal Malik’s administration stopped sending government advertisements for publication in Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader for allegedly giving coverage to pro-independence groups as well as allegations of rights abuses by security forces.

The NIA and several central agencies are part of a multi-agency crackdown on people and organisations in Valley who, according to the government, are involved in “terror funding”. The agency has mostly targeted separatists but people from other sections, including journalists, are also under its radar.

The crackdown was launched after a long phase of unrest, which that followed the death of Hizb leader Burhan Wani in 2016, crippled life in Valley. It has intensified after the February Pulwama attack killed 40 CRPF men.

The Centre claims the pro-Azaadi protests are being funded by Pakistan but the crackdown has only had limitedsuccess. While the protests have somewhat lost momentum, which could also be because of fatigue, militants continue to get new recruits.

The sources in the Greater Kashmir said their boss was being questioned for the articles that appeared in the newspaper during and after the agitation and his overseas trips, among other matters.

The NIA had earlier arrested a freelance photo journalist, Kamran Yousuf, for alleged terror funding and stone throwing but had to be released on bail after a six-month detention.

Amnesty International then said the charges against Kamran are “fabricated and politically motivated, and part of an attempt to stifle journalism in Kashmir”.