Hafiz Saeed Calls Her Sister

Aasiya Andrabi is accused of being a key motivator of the students’ protests in Kashmir (File Photo)

New Delhi: 

Kashmiri separatist Aasiya Andrabi, who was brought to the Delhi headquarters of the National Investigation Agency, has been undergoing questioning, investigators said. The 56-year-old chief of the banned Dukhtaran-E-Milat (daughters of the nation) has been lodged in the NIA lock-up. Every few hours, a new set of women interrogators arrive to quiz her on her association with Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed and why she always takes such hardline position against India.

Aasiya Andrabi – accused of being a key motivator of the students’ protests in Kashmir valley following the death of Burhan Wani in 2016 – was arrested in April. She was brought to Delhi from a Srinagar jail for questioning after the agency got her custody for 10 days on Friday.

Investigators say Aasiya Andrabi openly affiliated with Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed for years, but she never had to face the law. “She addressed a rally of Hafiz Saeed on telephone. He calls her his sister,” an officer associated with the investigation said.

A scrutiny of Aasiya Andrabi’s Twitter handle reveals that many Lashkar operatives are her followers. “Some of them are active terrorists based in Kashmir Valley and some even in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir,” an officer said.

The NIA, he said, is translating her tweets, which are mostly written in Urdu. “She openly tweets anti-India sentiments,” an officer said.

The NIA dossier on her reads: “By their activities on cyberspace, they were running a concerted campaign to solicit support of Pakistani establishment which inter-alia includes arranging support from militant entities from Pakistan.”

Officers say Aasiya Andrabi has never been charged because of “patronage by the state”. “Though many a time, she was put under house arrest, she continues to enjoy enough freedom to join the anti-India terror elements in Pakistan openly,” an officer said.

In October last year, she even ended up on a government poster featuring 12 women achievers, alongside then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The red-faced government took action against the official involved and declared that it “totally disassociated” itself from the poster.

Officials say this time, they have enough evidence to prove that she was instigating women students of various colleges to come out on streets and protest. “We have a set of women interrogators. We are talking to her since she has been remanded in our custody,” an officer said.

Aasiya Andrabi’s sons are abroad, studying. Her elder son is doing MTech in Melbourne and the younger son is a student at an Islamic university in Malaysia.

Cases registered against Aasiya Andrabi include hoisting Pakistani flags every year to mark Pakistan Day and Independence Day of the country on August 14.

According to NIA, the First Information Report in the case said Aasiya Andrabi used various media platforms to spread insurrectionist ideas and hate speeches that endanger the integrity, security and sovereignty of India.

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