‘Andrabi and her two associates are at present lodged in Tihar Jail’
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the National Investigation Agency of India on a plea by Kashmiri Hurriyat leader and Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Asiya Andrabi challenging the agency’s decision to seize her Srinagar house, Bar and Bench reported.
The report said a Division Bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and Anish Dayal has also sought NIA’s response on a similar appeal by Andrabi’s associate, Sofi Fehmeeda, challenging the seizure of her car. The matter will now be considered on September 28.
Andrabi has been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The NIA had passed orders for the seizure of Andrabi’s house and Fehmeeda’s car in 2019.
The NIA’s attachment orders directing the seizure of their house and car is considered to be the first such attachment of any Hurriyat member property in Kashmir.
Andrabi and Fehmeeda had first approached the designated authority challenging the attachment, and then the Patiala House Court, but their representation and appeals were dismissed.
They have now challenged the Patiala House Court’s order before the High Court. The petition has been filed through advocate Shariq Iqbal, the report said.
In her plea, Andrabi has said that the Special Judge at the Patiala House Courts, while sitting in appeal, has not decided the illegalities of the order challenged, but has given his own opinion about why the house should have been seized.
She added that the Special Judge has wrongly concluded that because she gave an interview in her house, it can be treated as her office.
The act of giving an interview does not come under the ambit of militant activity, the plea stated.
“That the interpretation of the Special Judge sitting in appeal that giving an interview in the house would tantamount to an act of terrorism is completely devoid of merit because it was not the Appellant who had called the media persons at her home to take the interview but rather it was the media persons who had gone to her home to take the interviews… So it cannot be said that the appellant was using her house to spread terrorism,” the plea said, as per Bar and Bench.
Fehmeeda has stated that the judge has wrongly decided that the act of using a car for travelling is a militancy activity.
“The Special Judge without proof has presumed that the car was used in furtherance of militant activities when there is no evidence to that effect,” the plea stated.
Pertinently, in October last year, charges were framed by a special designated NIA court against Asiya Andrabi and two of her close associates Nahida Nasreen and Sufi Fehmida.
Special designated judge Javed Alam filed the charge sheet against nine persons, including Andrabi, Nasreen and Fehmida associated with Dukhtaran-e-Millat under an FIR registered in Anantnag.
They were charged with “aggravated assault, conspiracy against the country, stoning and damaging public property and inciting people, especially youth and college students”.
Andrabi and her two associates are at present lodged in Tihar Jail, and the charges were framed through video conferencing.