Hizb chief’s two sons in J&K among 11 sacked sacked in ‘national interest’

Action against Syed Shakeel Ahmed and Syed Shahid Yusuf was taken in the light of the investigations done by NIA in a terror funding case

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir authorities on Saturday sacked eleven more government officials including two sons of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Muhammad Yusuf Shah alias Syed Salahuddin “in the interest of the nation”.

Pursuing a tough policy against what it sees as their anti-national activities, their being in the government service a threat to the security and integrity of the country or their violating Government Servants Conduct Rules, the J&K government has in the past two years dismissed a large number of its employees including teachers, revenue officials, engineers and policemen.

The official sources said that in the latest spell Salahuddin’s sons, and nine others were terminated “in the interest of the nation as per the Constitutional provision”. The sources said that action against the brothers-duo Syed Shakeel Ahmed and Syed Shahid Yusuf was taken in the light of the investigations done by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a terror funding case. The NIA had in January 2018 filed a charge-sheet in a Delhi court against Syed Salahuddin, amir or chief of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah, Hafiz Saeed, and ten Kashmiri separatist activists in an alleged money laundering and terror funding case.

The J&K government has claimed that the NIA tracked terror funding trails of both the brothers and found them involved in raising, receiving, collecting, and transferring funds through hawala transactions to the Hizb, which has been declared a terrorist organisation in India and also by the US State Department.

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Syed Shakeel who worked as a senior laboratory technician at Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) was arrested by the NIA on August 30, 2018, during a raid at his residence in the City’s Rambagh area in connection with a 2011 terror funding case. The NIA had claimed that he used to receive funds through a US-based international wire transfer company from one Aijaz Ahmed Bhat, another accused in the case who is absconding and is presently based in Saudi Arabia.

The agency had in October 2017 arrested his brother Syed Shahid in connection with the same case. An employee of J&K’s horticulture department, Syed Shahid is currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail.

A senior government functionary added that the Enforcement Directorate (EC) had on August 26 last year filed a charge sheet before Delhi court against Syed Salahuddin and 11 others for allegedly laundering money for financing terror activities in J&K. The prosecution complaint, ED’s equivalent to charge sheet, had urged the court for confiscating attached assets totalling to 1.22 crores in the case, besides other punishment under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The Hizb chief who is a resident of Soibug village of J&K’s central district of Budgam but operating from PoK and Pakistan for the last nearly three decades had denied the charges levelled against him by the NIA and ED.

The J&K government under Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, had in April this year constituted a Special Task Force (STF) for identifying and scrutinizing its employees involved in any activity detrimental to the security of the country or deemed as anti-national, evoking sharp criticism from various political parties, employees’ trade unions and human rights activists.

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The government sources said on Friday that separately a designated official committee responsible for scrutinizing and recommending cases under Article 311(2)(c) of the Constitution, in its 2nd and 4th meeting, recommended three and eight cases for their dismissal from the government service, respectively.

They apart from Syed brothers include an orderly of ITI from frontier district of Kupwara accused of being an Over Ground Worker (OWG) of proscribed Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, two teachers from southern Anantnag district allegedly involved in anti-national activities including participating, supporting and propagating the ideology of Jamaat-e-Islami and Dukhtaran-e-Millat organisations and two police constables accused of supporting separatism and terrorism from within the police department and providing ‘inside information’ to militants and also logistic support.

Another police constable Abdul Rashid Shigan has been accused of having himself executed attacks on the security forces. Naaz Muhammad Allaie, a fourth-class employee of the J&K Health Department, has been sacked for allegedly being an OWG of the Hizb whereas two Education Department officials Jabbar Ahmad Parray and Nisar Ahmad Tantray were found actively involved in furthering the secessionist agenda.

Shaheen Ahmad Lone, an Inspector of the J&K Power Department has been allegedly found involved in smuggling and transporting arms for the Hizb. “He was found traveling with two terrorists on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and carrying arms, ammunition, and explosives in January last year.

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