After Pulwama, J&K scraps security of five separatists

After Pulwama, J&K scraps security of five separatists

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday issued orders to withdraw security of five separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, officials said. PTI file photo

Two days after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that he has asked the officers to review the security provided to people taking money from Pakistan and its spy agency ISI, Jammu and Kashmir government on Sunday withdrew security of five separatist leaders.
Officials said orders for withdrawing the security cover of five separatist leaders – Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone, Hashim Qureshi and Shabir Shah was issued by the state Home department.
“Security and vehicles provided to these five separatist leaders will stand withdrawn by Sunday evening. No security forces or cover will be provided, under any pretext, to them or any other separatists. If they have any other facilities provided by the government, they are to be withdrawn forthwith,” the order reads.

READ: Never asked for security: Hurriyat leaders react

Police will also review if there are any other separatists, who have security or facilities which will be withdrawn immediately, the officials said. 

Besides heading the moderate faction of the Hurriyat, the Mirwaiz is also the chief priest of Kashmir and enjoys Z-category security for the last more than two decades. His father Mirwaiz Farooq was killed by militants on 21 May 1990 and since then the Mirwaiz family was being provided with the security by the government.
He had eight to ten security guards for his protection until the lynching of a deputy superintendent of police Mohammad Ayoub at Jamia Masjid, Nowhatta, Srinagar, in June 2017. “After the lynching incident, the security cover of Mirwaiz was trimmed to six PSOs,” a source said.
Bilal Lone, a senior leader of moderate Hurriyat, is the son separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone, who was assassinated on 21 May 2002. His brother Sajjad Lone was a minister in erstwhile PDP-BJP alliance in the state. Prof Bhat is also a senior leader of moderate Hurriyat while Shabir Shah, who heads his own organisation, is currently lodged in Tihar Jail on the charges of receiving hawala money for terror and stone pelting activities.
On Friday, the union home minister told journalists in Srinagar that there were some people in Kashmir who were “taking money from Pakistan and ISI” and that he has directed the state administration to “review the security of such people”.
A police officer, wishing not to be named, said the exercise was carried out on the directions of union home minister.
In June 2016, a BJP legislator Ajat Shatru Singh had claimed that Central and State governments had spent a whopping Rs 560 crore on separatists from 2011-2016.
Speaking in the Legislative Council, he said that government provided more than 950 personal security officers to people who seek ‘Azadi’ from India. He had also claimed that government of India was paying all the travel and hotel expenses of separatists outside J&K.
“From hotel to food to air tickets everything is being paid by the government of India, while separatists, holiday outside the state. On an average the government spends around Rs 100 crore on separatists every year,” he had said.
Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani and pro-independence JKLF chief Yasin Malik are the two senior most separatist leaders, who had not accepted the security provided by the state government to the separatists in late 1990’s and early 2000’s. The security cover was provided to the separatists after the killing of Abdul Gani Lone and attacks on several of them by unidentified militants.