4 Kashmiri separatists put under house arrest

4 Kashmiri separatists put under house arrest

NSA talks: Pakistan terms Hurriyat meeting 'routine'; India takes a strong stand

4 Kashmiri separatists put under house arrest

Taking a tough stand, India on Saturday put four Kashmiri separatist leaders under house arrest here to prevent them from meeting Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz in the next two days.

Shabir Shah, who broke away from Hurriyat last year and formed his Democratic Freedom Party, was detained along with two senior members of his party — Mohammed Abdullah Tari and Zamir Ahmed Sheikh — at the Delhi airport in the morning while moderate Hurriyat leader Bilal Lone was picked up soon after his landing in Delhi in the evening. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was apprised of the situation by National Security Adviser Ajith Doval.

The meeting of separatist leaders with Aziz was a bone of contention between India and Pakistan with New Delhi insisting that there should not be “third party” in the talks between India and Pakistan. However, Pakistan has not accepted this contention and the proposed arrival of Aziz on Sunday is still not confirmed as both sides have escalated their positions. New Delhi had made it clear earlier that they would detain leaders if they come to Delhi for the meeting.

Official sources said Lone was informed soon after he alighted from the plane that he was under detention and would remain confined to his rented accommodation in South Delhi. Earlier, Shah was also detained. The separatist leaders were told “restrictions have been imposed on their movement in the national capital”.

Shah and his two party leaders are under house arrest in a south Delhi guest house while Lone will be in his rented accommodation.  Official sources said all separatist leaders have been given an option that they were free only to travel to Srinagar, in case they wanted to.

The Pakistan High Commission had invited the separatist leaders for a reception being hosted for Aziz.  The invitation  had upset New Delhi, but Pakistan said such meetings were “routine”.