Senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq took an early flight to New Delhi to appear before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday in connection with a terror funding case, sources close to him said.

The NIA has served him three summons.

The separatist leader had earlier cited security reasons for the inability to honour the first two summons and requested the NIA to question him in Srinagar.

The third summon served on him has specified that the security concerns of the Mirwaiz would be taken care of by the NIA in Delhi.

The decision to appear before the NIA was taken by Mirwaiz on Sunday following an executive meeting of the Hurriyat group.

It was also decided that executive members of the Hurriyat, including Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat, Bilal Gani Lone and Masroor Ansari would accompany the Mirwaiz to the national capital.

Mirwaiz has appealed people to remain calm and peaceful and not react adversely to his being summoned to Delhi.

A defiant Mirwaiz had been refusing to comply with the summons of the NIA in connection with investigations in terror funding case.

Mirwaiz has used the religious platform of Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid to challenge the NIA’s summons.

Addressing the congregation during Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid earlier in March, he had announced that he would not travel to Delhi for any investigation and the NIA should come to Srinagar if it wanted to question him.

The NIA had in February raided the residence of Mirwaiz and some other separatists and carried out searches. Thereafter, he was summoned to Delhi for further questioning. As the NIA searched their premises, supporters of separatists indulged in violence in the downtown areas.

The NIA had claimed to have recovered incriminating documents, including letterheads of various terrorist outfits during the raids. A high-end antenna and communication system was also recovered from a separatist’s house.

The NIA has already arrested nearly a dozen people, including seven separatists. The arrested persons include a son of Pakistan-based terror leader Syed Salahuddin and a top businessman of Kashmir. Two sons of Syed Ali Shah Geelani have also been questioned.