In a major crackdown on separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the National Investigation Agency has registered a preliminary enquiry into the funding of Geelani and other Hurriyat leaders Naeem Khan, Farooq Ahmed Dar, Gazi Javed Baba (Tehreek-e-Hurriyat) and others, alleging direct links with Pakistan-based terror groups and Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed.
Sources said the NIA teams have reached Srinagar and would be fanning out in the Valley to question Geelani and others in the next few days .
The NIA has alleged that the Hurriyat leaders were receiving funds from 26/11 mastermind and Lashkar patron Hafiz Saeed and other Pakistan based terrorists and agencies to carry out subversive activities in Kashmir.
The NIA officials said the funding was also being used to "cause damage to public property, stone pelting on the security forces, burning of schools and other government establishments."
Meanwhile, the central terror probe agency has also taken cognizance of certain news items related to the recording of conversations between a television channel and leaders of separatist groups operating in Kashmir Valley on May 16 in which the Hurriyat leaders purportedly confessed to receiving such funds.
If the NIA probe is able to gather substantial evidence, it would be the first time that a direct link would be established to prove Pakistan's complicity in the ongoing unrest in Kashmir and its links with separatists. It would also establish Pakistan's role in the stone pelting incidents taking place in the Valley over past several months. New Delhi has time and again alleged that Pakistan based terror groups are sponsoring terror activities and targeting security forces in the Valley—a charge vehemently denied by Islamabad.
The NIA crackdown comes at a time when Jammu and Kashmir has seen months of unrest with stone pelting incidents on security forces and a complete breakdown of law and order. The Centre has been alleging that state and non-state actors in Pakistan are behind the unrest.