Muslim cleric Sarjan Barkati’s wife arrested in ‘militancy funding’ case: SIA

SRINAGAR — The State Investigation Agency (SIA) on Friday said to have arrested one lady namely Shabroza Bano, wife of Sarjan Ahmad Wagay alias ‘Barkati’, a Muslim cleric from of South Kashmir’s Shopian district in a ‘militancy funding’ case.

“She, along with her husband has been found involved in militancy financing by raising money through crowdfunding. A Case FIR No 02/2023 U/S 13,17,18,21,39,40 UA(P) Act, 120-B IPC of Police Station, SIA pertains to the involvement of Barkati family in orchestrating an extensive fund-raising campaign through crowd funding, resulting in the generation of funds amounting to crores,” the State Investigation Agency (SIA) said in a statement.

“These funds were subsequently misused, involving money laundering and acquisition of undisclosed assets for propagation of radicalism within the Kashmir valley. While Sarjan Barkati was arrested in August this year, his wife Shabroza Bano has been evading arrest after her role surfaced in the case,” the statement said.

“During the investigation of State Investigation Agency (SIA), Shabroza Bano came out as one of the conspirators and was found hand in glove with her husband and Pak based militant handlers in the militant funding case. The investigation reveals that Shabroza Bano has remained in constant contact with Pakistani handlers through encrypted messaging platforms. Consequently, she was arrested today on 24.11.2023,” the statement said.

“Barkati and his family had managed to raise approximately Rs 1.74 crores through crowd funding campaigns. These funds were raised for personal gains and a significant portion of the collected funds was allegedly misused for undisclosed purposes, including financing of secessionist and militant activities. A substantial portion of the acquired funds had been deposited in various Fixed Deposit Receipts (FDRs) under the names of Barkati’s family members, raising questions about the legitimacy of the sources and utilization of the funds,” the statement added.

Pertinent to mention that the main accused in the case Sarjan Barkati was a prominent figure in organizing large-scale protests, rallies and clashes with security forces in 2016.

During that period he was instrumental in abetting youth to storm security forces establishments for which more than 30 FIRs were registered against him in various police stations of the valley. — (KDC)