A court rules allegations of anti-India activities against one of Hurriyat's undertrial members warranted the action.
India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sealed the office of one of the factions of the pro-freedom organisation, Hurriyat Conference.
The act has come after a court in New Delhi ruled that allegations of anti-India activities against one of its undertrial members warranted that the person's property could be taken control of by the government.
Several officials of the agency put up a notice outside the Hurriyat office in Rajbagh locality that reads that the building, which is co-owned by the undertrial leader Nayeem Ahmad Khan, has been sealed on the orders of the Special NIA Court in New Delhi.
Khan and more than half a dozen senior leaders have been booked and jailed since 2018 in a case that charges them for funding, in what India claims, "terror activities" in India-administered Kashmir.
One of them, Altaf Ahmad Shah, son-in-law of the late leader of another faction of Hurriyat, Syed Ali Geelani, died of cancer while still under imprisonment last year.
The Delhi court, according to the media reports, had said in its order that the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, under which Khan has been charged, does not prevent a court from ordering the seizure of property of any accused facing trial under this law.
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"...desire to see resolution of #Kashmir conflict & to live in fearless peace is embedded in the people of J&K. Hurriyat is a manifestation of that desire. Attaching buildings... will not detach people from their sentiment..."— Hakeem Irfan Rashid (@HakeemIrfan) January 29, 2023
Hurriyat on NIA attaching its headquarters pic.twitter.com/L4JBNnOglp
Seizure doesn't mean guilt – court
At the same time, the court said the seizure itself does not mean that the court has concluded anything about the property at the trial stage.
The court noted that in the Hurriyat office, meetings had been held to "strategise different protests, funding activities of stone-throwing on security forces, recruiting of unemployed youths to carry out unlawful activities as well as (militant) activities to create unrest in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir to wage war against the Government of India."
Hurriyat Conference has held talks on disputed Kashmir with several Indian governments in the past.
At present most of the leaders of both factions are either in prison or under detention in their homes, including the chief of the faction whose office was seized, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Farooq has been under house detention since August 2019, when the Indian government scrapped the autonomy of the region-and put the entire Muslim majority region under lockdown for months at the time.
Kashmir is administered by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed in full by both. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – including two over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups in India-administered Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighbouring Pakistan.
According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
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