Coercive role of Indian National Investigation Agency

By Sajjad Shaukat

Renowned thinkers, Hobbes, Machiavelli and Morgenthau opine that sometimes, rulers act upon immoral activities like deceit, fraud, falsehood and even murder to fulfill their countries’ selfish aims. But such a sinister politics was replaced by new trends such as fair-dealings, reconciliation and economic development. Regrettably, India is still following the discarded theories of past politics in modern era.

In this regard, coercive role of Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is a state within the state is being used as tool to suppress the dissenting voices, including the political opposition, and to malign Pakistan.

In the backdrop of Mumbai attack incident of November 26, 2008, India raised National Investigation Agency (NIA) on December 31, 2008 as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement organization. With the passage of time, the agency has become a powerful tool to terrorize political opponents and suppress dissenting voices. The agency has also assistance of “Special Courts” to expedite the process of conviction and execution.

It is notable that apart from repressing political opponents, the NIA has mostly remained active against Indian Muslims, Sikhs, Maoists and people of North Eastern India.

The agency has been increasing activities in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) to subdue the Hurriyat leaders and other Kashmiri people. NIA started terrorizing almost all the Hurriyat leadership through coercive tactics to force them to meet and cooperate with new Indian interlocutor Dinesh Sharma. The same approach continues unabated. Kashmiri leaders like Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik strongly criticized Indian government for using National Investigating Agency as a war weapon to harass the Hurriyat leaders.

In case of the Indian Held Kashmir, reliable reports also suggest that NIA frames and raids the residences of pro-freedom leaders and activists as a pre-planned psychological crackdown, so that they surrender and stop voicing the sentiments of their people. As part of such an activity, NIA arrested a Kashmiri journalist namely Kamran Yousuf who was working as freelance photojournalist for Jammu & Kashmir-dailies, including Greater Kashmir, Munsif TV channel. Reportedly, he was known for covering incidents related to highhandedness of the Indian forces against the Kashmiri civilians. He was imprisoned in September 2017, but was formally charged on January 18, 2018 with criminal conspiracy, sedition, stone pelting and attempting to wage war against India. In the same charge sheet, NIA has also accused Hafiz Saeed and Syed Sallah-ud- Din as well. Despite campaigns from journalists and international human rights organizations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Yousuf remains languishing in jail.

While, there is no FIR or complaint registered against Kamran in any police station in the IOK. Notably, NIA’s website has no mention of Kamran Yousuf, even in the ‘Arrested Person in custody of NIA’ list.
In this respect, in their response to ultra legal arrest of Yousuf, Asia programme coordinator of Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) namely Steven Butler said: “India’s National Investigative Agency is way out of its league”. CPJ’s Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said: “Indian authorities must stop trying to crush the independent press in the Jammu and Kashmir region”. The Kashmir Editors’ Guild indicated: “The pathetic standards of journalism that NIA aims to thrust is not just childishly naive but also reflect a dangerous conspiracy to dis-empower the fourth estate”.

Similarly, in the Indian Punjab, NIA has been labeling every active Sikh as pro-Khalistan and has been using coercive tactics as well. In this context, case against UK nationals Jagjit Singh Johal alias Jaggi and Taljit Singh alias Jimmy and other Sikh leaders and people such as Hardeep Singh alias Shera, Ramandeep Singh alias Bagga and Dharminder Singh Gugni can be quoted as instances.

Likewise, in North East India, former chief minister TR Zeliang of Nagaland was recently called by NIA in a probe related to terror funding case of Khaplang faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN).

It is mentionable that a BJP leader of the ruling party Ajay Agrawal sought NIA help in registering sedition case against Congress leader Mani Shankar for attending a meeting with the Pakistani officials. Moreover, it is on record that the incumbent DG NIA namely Yogesh Chander Modi is a handpicked man of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yogesh Modi was part of Indian Supreme Court appointed SIT (Special Investigation Team) which had probed Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. The SIT cleared Narendra Modi. Yogesh Chander Modi also handled another key case which was murder of Haren Pandya-political rival to Narendra Modi was killed in Gandhinagar in 2003. Yogesh Modi was even slammed by the Gujarat High Court for “ineptitude resulting into injustice.” The Pandya investigation led to the conviction of 12 persons under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). However, all the culprits were subsequently acquitted (found not guilty) by the Gujarat High Court in 2011.

Nevertheless, from Mumbai incident to Shakeel Bhatkal case and recent charge sheet against Hafiz Saeed, Syed Sallah-ud-Din, Kamran Yousif etc, NIA has been used in every sinister move to malign Pakistan regarding various terrorism-related incidents which occurred in India.

In another related false allegation, Indian media reported on April 9, this year that NIA is likely to charge sheet former Pakistan diplomat to Sri Lanka namely Amir Zubair Siddiqui regarding terrorism instigating incident. It was claimed that a terror network under Mr. Siddiqui was run through an Indian Mohamed Zakir Hussain to target US Consulate in Chennai, Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru, Eastern Naval Command HQ in Visakhapatnam and ports across the country. Mohamed Zakir Hussain was arrested in 2013 by CID (Tamil Nadu) in a fake case. Raising the issue after lapse of four years clearly proves that New Delhi is trying to create more false flag dramas to minimize impact of coercive role of the NIA. The aim is also to twist out of proportion of the NIA activities by implicating Pakistan. Besides, India’s purpose is to distort the image of Pakistan in the comity of nations in order to manipulate the FATA situation against Islamabad and to counter Pakistan’s diplomats who are, globally, taking maximum advantage of FATA situation, where peace has been restored in the aftermath of the successful military operations of the Pakistan’s armed forces, including the efforts of country’s primary intelligence agency ISI.
It is of particular attention that in July, 2013, the Indian former home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.

Furthermore, NIA’s discriminatory role in investigation of Mumbai incident was also amply exposed by investigative book “The Betrayal of India: Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence” written by Elias Davidsson who proved that it was a false flag terror attack.

Undoubtedly, we can conclude that in reality, NIA is being used by India as a tool to coerce and malign the opponents, to suppress the dissenting voices and the war of liberations, while shifting the blame game towards Pakistan.

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