Family members of Arsalan, who is in NIA custody, hold placards during their protest demanding his release, in Srinagar.

Family members of Arsalan Feroz, who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged involvement in radicalising and recruiting youngsters in terror ranks, on Saturday held a protest here claiming that he was innocent. They demanded his release.

The NIA had on Friday stated said Feroz was an operative of a terror group. However, the family members denied the charge.

“He is innocent. First, they (NIA) declared him a stone-pelter. The next day, they declared him a TRF operative. Can a 19-year-old, Class XII student, be a TRF operative?” Feroz’s sister asked while talking to reporters at the Press Enclave where the family staged the protest.

She said the team of the NIA raided their Zaldagar residence in the city and conducted searches.

“They told us that they want to take Arsalan only for questioning. Then they told us they will take him for questioning to Delhi. Later, they labelled him a TRF operative,” she said.

The family appealed to J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Director General of Police Dilbag Singh to intervene.