Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani addresses a press conference in Srinagar May 2, 2016. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI — Key separatists, including Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, are being investigated for allegedly receiving money from Lashkar-e-Taiba and other sources in Pakistan to fund stone-pelting and violent protests in Jammu and Kashmir.

The National Investigation Agency said May 19 it has filed a case against Geelani, his close aide and Hurriyat provincial president Naeem Khan, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front leader Farooq Ahmed Dar – also known as Bitta Karate – and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader Gazi Javed Baba.

A team from the counter-terror investigation agency landed in Srinagar to question the four separatist leaders, an NIA statement said.

"The NIA has registered a preliminary enquiry into the funding of Hurriyat leaders by LeT chief Hafiz Muhammed Saeed and other Pakistan-based terrorists and agencies to carry out subversive activities in Kashmir," the statement said.

The Enforcement Directorate, which investigates economic offenses, said it would join the NIA investigation into funding from Pakistan through hawala channels – a cross-border illegal cash transfer system run by money brokers.

An ED official told IANS that it would investigate all financial transactions made by Hurriyat leaders.

The NIA alleged that the Hurriyat Conference may have been funding unrest, including violent activities like stone pelting and the burning of schools and government buildings, in the Kashmir Valley by distributing money it receives from Pakistan.

An NIA official told IANS: "The team will soon call the Hurriyat leaders for questioning."

The move comes after an India Today news channel exposé that purportedly shows Pakistan pumping money into Jammu and Kashmir in connivance with Hurriyat leaders to stoke trouble in the valley.

The NIA official said a notice has been sent to the TV channel requesting the unedited videos of the sting.

India Today news channel aired a sting May 16, which allegedly shows the Hurriyat leaders in conversation with the reporter, confessing they received money from Pakistan-based organizations routed through hawala.

On May 19, two India Today journalists were allegedly assaulted by JKLF chief Yasin Malik in Srinagar when they went to seek his reaction to the channel's report.

Malik accused one of the reporters of barging into his bedroom and filed a police complaint of criminal trespass.

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