Jailed Hurriyat leader’s wife passes away in Srinagar

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Hurriyat leader Ayaz Akbar
Hurriyat leader Ayaz Akbar

SRINAGAR — The ailing wife of Hurriyat (G) leader and spokesman Ayaz Akbar Bhat passed away in Kashmir capital Srinagar after a brief illness.

Family sources confirmed that Rafeeqa Begum, wife of Hurriyat leader, passed away on the intervening night of Thursday-Friday at Maloora Srinagar.

They said Rafeeqa was diagnosed with metastatic cancer (IV stage of Cancer), for the past several years after that she was moved to hospital for treatment. However, she passed away at her residence here.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested dozens of Hurriyat members from Srinagar and Delhi. Among those arrested included Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah (also known as Altaf Fantoosh), Geelani’s close aides Naeem Khan, Merazuddin Kalwal and Pir Saifullah, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar, and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq’s close aide and spokesperson Shahid-ul-Islam, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Asiya Andrabi, Famida Sofia, Nahida Nasreen and many others.

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They were arrested in connection with militant funding case after which NIA held several raids in the residences of Hurriyat leaders across the Kashmir valley.

The NIA investigation began way back in May 2017 after the agency registered a preliminary inquiry into the funding of separatist leaders in the Valley.

An NIA official said that money had been reaching separatist leaders through Hawala operatives to fan the unrest in Kashmir.

The arrests, however, were made only after the questioning of the separatist leaders and when the agency had gathered “conclusive evidence about their involvement in the case”, NIA officials added.

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