Kashmir photojournalist among eight arrested under UAPA in militant conspiracy case

A photojournalist from Kashmir valley, Manan Gulzar Dar, was one of eight persons arrested under draconian UAPA by the National Investigation Agency in a militant conspiracy case. Manan and seven others have been accused of being “operatives of various proscribed terrorist organisations.”

They have been charged under Sections 120B (dealing with criminal conspiracy) , 121A (conspiracy to commit offences), 122 (collecting arms, etc, with intention of waging war against the government of India) and 123 (concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war) of the Indian Penal Code as well as the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Manan whose work has appeared in publications such as The Guardian,  is a resident of Srinagar’s Batamaloo area.

Manan Gulzar Dar is 24 now.

“We got to know, through newspapers, that he had been arrested. More than a fortnight has passed but we don’t know if he is alive or dead. Police told us he has been arrested by the NIA and taken to New Delhi,” Manan’s father Gulzar Ahmad Dar told The Wire.

The Wire also reported that NIA had arrested Manan’s brother, Hanan Gulzar Dar, a college student, earlier this month. Hanan has been sent to 30-day judicial custody, and is currently lodged in Tihar jail, Free Press Kashmir reported.

“We thought it was routine questioning since many journalists are being picked up by police in Kashmir these days,” Fahmeeda Akhtar, Manan’s mother said to the news website.

NIA in its statement released on October 22, said, the agency conducted searches at 10 locations in Srinagar, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag, and Baramulla districts of Jammu and Kashmir before the arrests.

“The case relates to conspiracy for undertaking violent terrorist acts in J&K and other major cities, by cadres of proscribed terrorist organisations Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Hizb-ulMujahideen (HM), Al Badr and their affiliates such as the Resistance Front (TRF), People Against Fascist Forces (PAFF) etc,” read NIA’s statement.

“The eight accused persons arrested are terror operatives of various proscribed terrorist organisations and have been instrumental in providing logistical and material support to terrorists,” claimed the anti-terror agency.

Besides the photojournalist, the Kashmiri Muslims who were arrested under draconian laws, are Adil Ahmad War, Hilal Ahmed Dar, Sobhia, Rouf Bhatt, Shaqib Bashir, Zamin Adil and Haris Nisar Langoo. Till now 13 accused persons have been arrested in this case by NIA.