The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has brought separatist leader and alleged ringleader of stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir, Masarat Alam Bhat, from a state prison to Delhi to question him in connection with a terror funding case.
The chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League, Bhat was shifted to Delhi late on Monday by a team comprising of the NIA and the Jammu and Kashmir Police, informed sources said.
He would be presented before the Patiala House court for custodial remand by the NIA.
NIA will seek his custody for interrogation in connection with the terror funding case which the agency registered in May 2017 after violence erupted in the Kashmir Valley, in the aftermath of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani's death.
He is the second separatist leader after Yasin Malik to be brought by the NIA here in connection with the case.
Bhat was under detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA) since 2010. He played had a crucial role in triggering protests and stone pelting in 2010 which finally led to a valley-wide unrest in which 110 protesters were killed.
A crisis started between the then ruling PDP-BJP coalition in the state when then Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed released him in 2015 immediately after he came to power.
Sayeed's decision had brought the coalition to the brink of collapse and he was left with no alternative other than order Bhat's detention again under the PSA.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has so far set aside Masarat Alam's PSA detention order over 37 times. Authorities have been booking him under the same act each time his previous detention is set aside by the court.
So far, the NIA has arrested several separatist leaders, including Aftab Hilali Shah alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peer Saifullah.
Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who advocates Jammu and Kashmir's merger with Pakistan.
Shahid-ul-Islam is Dar's aide and Khandey is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat. Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was arrested in August 2017.
The anti-terror agency, on January 18, 2018, filed a charge sheet against 12 persons, including Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin in connection with the terror funding case.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)