The NIA today raided the ancestral house of a lawyer who is believed to be a close associate of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on suspicion of routing funds to separatists from their Pakistan-based handlers. Devinder Singh Behal’s native place of Nowshera was rocked by protests over his links with separatists and anti- India activities. An NIA team conducted raids at the ancestral house of Behal in the Nowshera belt of Rajouri district, an official said.
The agency had yesterday searched the lawyer’s Jammu- based office and residence. Behal is the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Social Peace Forum (JKSPF), a constituent of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat headed by Geelani. He also is a member of the legal cell of the separatist amalgam led by Geelani and a “close associate” of the Hurriyat hawk. Behal also regularly attends the funeral processions of militants, the anti-terror probe agency had yesterday said.
A large number of youths took out a protest march in Nowshera over Behal’s links with Geelani. They shouted slogans against him and demanded that he be punished for “working against the country”.