JAMMU : The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday raided the ancestral home of Jammu and Kashmir advocate Devender Singh Behal, who was arrested here a day earlier over his links with hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
The NIA said Behal was a member of the legal cell of the Geelani-led Hurriyat.
According to the agency, it was investigating Behal’s role “as a courier as he is suspected to be involved in routing funds to the separatist leaders from Pakistan-based handlers”.
Advocate Behl is the chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Social Peace Forum (JKSPF), a division of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, the separatist political party commanded by Geelani. Apart from this, Behl is also a close aide of the Hurriyat hawk and a member of a legal cell group headed by Geelani. According to the anti-terror probe agency, Behl also regularly attends funeral processions of militants. He is also known to have hosted separatist leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Shabir Shah at his residence in Jammu.
In his mid 40s, Behl is also believed to be a dealer of electrical items. A native of Nowshera in Rajouri district of Kashmir, Behl, living with his wife and two daughters, settled in Jammu around 20 years ago. He visited Pakistan in 2013 where he was allegedly arrested for attempting to go to Mirpur without permission. Apart from participating in events organized by separatist leaders, he also uses social media to accuse security forces of violating human rights in the valley. After Burhan Wani died in an encounter, Behl had supported separatists’ demand for “azadi” on social media.
While being taken away by the officials of the NIA, Behl reportedly said,