The NIA seized a secret list drawn up by police of most wanted militants in Jammu and Kashmir from the house of Kashmiri separatist leader Shahid-ul-Islam arrested recently in a case of terror funding, sources have said.
The recovery of the document that has 158 names on it has raised concerns if Islam, a close aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has a mole in the police force.
“We were in for huge surprise when we checked the list’s veracity with the Jammu and Kashmir Police. We were told it was the copy of a list prepared by their criminal investigation department,” a National Investigation Agency official told Hindustan Times on Friday. “We are curious to know whether the list travelled to Pakistan as well.”
The NIA on July 24 arrested Islam and six other separatist leaders in an investigation to ascertain if funds from Pakistan were used to fuel last year’s unrest in the Valley that left 100 people, most of them civilians, dead.
Before the arrests, the anti-terrorism investigating agency raided places across Kashmir, Delhi and Haryana, looking for evidence of separatist leaders and businessmen receiving funds from Hafiz Saeed, who heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawa group, and other Pakistan-based militant outfits.
The list, which was prepared by the intelligence wing of the police around three months ago, was seized during one such raid in June, sources in NIA said.
“Yes, it’s a secret list for internal consumption of the police,” a J&K police official told Hindustan Times. In Kashmir there were many families in which a brother was a militant and another a policeman, “so sometimes things get leaked and we are trying our best to stop it”, the officer said.
Along with names of the militants, the list has the details of the outfits they belong to, their addresses and how dangerous they are.
The state police grades militants in five categories: A++, A+, A, B and C — depending on their activities.
The NIA was trying to find out how the list reached Islam, who and six others are in its custody.
Senior Hurriyat leaders, including Mirwaiz who is the head priest of the Valley, have slammed the arrests as vendetta and an attempt to mislead the people.
Kashmir was rocked by violent street protests after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in a gunfight with security forces on July 8, 2016. Stone-throwing mobs of young people often clashed with the troops, leading to deaths in firing by security forces.
Security agencies say “habitual” stone throwers are paid money, which comes from Pakistan, to stoke unrest in the Valley.