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Security of 5 separatists withdrawn

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SRINAGAR, FEBUARY 17: The Government today issued orders for the withdrawal of all security and any government facilities provided to the separatist leaders- Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Abdul Ghani Bhat, Bilal Lone, Hashim Qureshi and Shabir Shah.

“All security and any vehicles provided to them will stand withdrawn by today evening. No security forces or cover should be provided, under any pretext, to them or any other separatists.

“If they have any other facilities provided by Government, they are to be withdrawn forthwith.

“PHQ will review if there are any other separatists who have Government security or facilities and will withdraw these immediately,” said an official communiqué released for publication today.

The decision comes in the aftermath of the Pulwama suicide bombing that killed more than 40 CRPF personnel on Thursday.

While there was no categorisation of security for these leaders, the state government in consultation with the Centre had provided them ad hoc security, keeping in mind the threat to their lives from some militant groups.

No security was provided to separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who continues to remain under house arrest and JKLF chief Yaseen Malik, sources said.

Interestingly, Shabir Shah, who figures in the list of separatists whose security was withdrawn, is languishing in Tihar jail.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during his visit to Srinagar on Friday, had said security given to people getting funds from Pakistan and its snooping agency ISI should be reviewed.

"Some elements in Jammu and Kashmir have links with the ISI and terrorist organisations. Their security should be reviewed," he had said after reviewing security in the aftermath of the dastardly terror attack.

Shabir Shah was never provided security: JKDFP

Srinagar: Soon after the government announcement on withdrawal of security to five separatist leaders, Jammu Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party on Sunday said its chief Shabir Shah was never provided any security by the state.

In a statement, the JKDFP said that Shah, currently undergoing detention at Tihar jail in New Delhi, was never provided any kind of government security.

“Shabir Shah is a leader of principles who stands for the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and has not even applied for the Indian passport, not to speak of providing security” added the statement.

Hurriyat (M) says, it is non issue

Srinagar: Describing the government’s decision of withdrawing security from separatist leaders, Hurriyat (M) today said that it was a non issue as none of the leaders had ever asked for security cover.

Hurriyat spokesman termed the government order a propaganda and said it has no bearing on the Kashmir dispute or the situation on ground and it can in no way change the reality.

"With or without these police personnel at the residence of Hurriyat leaders, everything remains the same," the spokesman said in a statement, adding, that whenever an issue was made about security, the Mirwaiz  announced from the pulpit of the Jamia Masjid that the government can withdraw the security cover.

The spokesman said the Hurriyat leaders had never asked for security

"In fact, it was the government that insisted on keeping the personnel based on what they said was their assessment of threat perception. It was the government's decision at that time, today it's their decision to remove it. It's not an issue for us," the statement said.

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