Police Security Around Kashmiri Separatist Leadership Removed
The government promised action after the Pulwama suicide attack, during which a terrorist drove an explosive-laden car at the convoy has commenced. Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad has taken responsibility for the attack. Over 40 nations have condemned the terror attack and New Delhi has asked the international community to support naming Jaish chief Masood Azhar as a “UN designated terrorist”.
India is now building diplomatic and trade pressure on Pakistan, which is facing grave financial troubles. The government has withdrawn the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) status granted to Pakistan, and hiked the basic customs duty on all goods imported from there to 200%.
As a next step, the government will no longer provide any security to separatists in Jammu and Kashmir, sources in the home ministry said. The order from the state administration, issued three days after the deadly terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama that cost over 40 lives, said all security and vehicles provided to the separatists will be withdrawn by this evening.
Yesterday, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said security cover provided to people who get funds from Pakistan and its intelligence agency ISI will be reviewed soon. The list issued today includes Hurriyat’s Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Fazal Haq Qureshi and Abdul Ghani Bhat, Bilal Lone of People’s Conference, Hashim Qureshi of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front and Shabir Shah of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party.
“No security forces or cover should be provided, under any pretext, to them or any other separatist. If they have any other facilities provided by the government, they are to be withdrawn immediately,” an official said.
The government was roughly spending around Rs. 28 lakh on the security of these leaders.
As a Z-category protected, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq needed around 70 security men around him round-the-clock. The cost came to around Rs. 20 lakh a month. The rest, as Y category protectees, had 5 to 7 security guards. The cost for each came up to around 2 lakh. The list is likely to be updated – the order said the state police will review if any other separatists are also who have government security or facilities and will withdraw these immediately.
The Hurriyat said its leaders had never asked for security and it was the government which insisted on it. “It was the government’s decision at the time to keep it (security), today it is their decision to remove it. It’s not an issue for us,” a spokesperson of the separatist organisation said.