Jammu, Feb 17 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir authorities on Sunday evening withdrew the security cover provided to five separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umer Farooq.
“The security cover of five separatist leaders — Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, professor Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone, Hashim Qureshi and Shabir Ahmad Shah — has been withdrawn,” confirmed state government sources.
In line with the decision taken earlier in the day, armed guards, vehicles and other facilities to the separatists were withdrawn towards the evening, added the sources.
Sunday’s move comes after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during his visit to the Kashmir valley on Friday, said that security provided to those who received money from Pakistan would be reviewed.
Shah is currently in custody in Delhi after being arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Srinagar on July 26, 2017, in connection with a terror funding case.
Security personnel were, however, deployed outside his residence in Srinagar where his family resides.
Senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Muhammad Yasin Malik were not provided any security cover by the state government.
Reacting to the Jammu and Kashmir authorities’ move, the Hurriyat Conference on Sunday said they had never sought security cover.
“The government had decided on its own to provide security to separatist leaders which was never demanded in the first place,” the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said in a statement.
“Mirwaiz Umer Farooq in fact said many times during his Friday sermons that he wanted withdrawal of the security cover.
“The decision to withdraw security will neither change the stand of separatist leaders nor affect the situation on the ground,” the statement added.