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Last Updated : Feb 18, 2019 07:06 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Who are the five separatist leaders whose security cover has been removed?

Most leaders on the list had stated that they did not need the security detail provided to them in the first place

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on February 17 issued orders to withdraw security of five separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, officials said.

Besides Mirwaiz, the security cover for Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone, Hashim Qureshi and Shabir Shah has been withdrawn, they said.

Who are these separatist leaders?

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Abdul Gani Bhat: A senior leader of the Muslim Conference in Kashmir, Bhat is a former teacher of Persian. Muslim Conference is a part of the Hurriyat, but he has previously made statements which go against the separatist line.

Bhat has batted for a peaceful, dialogue-based settlement to the Kashmir issue, and has said dialogue is "only effective and civilised way of addressing issues bedeviling relations between nations or peoples". Bhat had made the statement while meeting Dineshwar Sharma, the Special Representative of central government for Jammu and Kashmir.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq: Farooq is one of the most controversial of the Valley's separatist leaders. Farooq's father, Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq, also a prominent separatist, was assassinated in Srinagar in 1990, when Umar Farooq was 17. This had triggered anti-India agitations across Kashmir.

In 2014, the Royal Islamic Strategic Study Centre of Jordan had listed Umar Farooq as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world. He was also featured in Time magazine's 25 most outstanding Asians.

Umar Farooq has been given the title of 'Mirwaiz', which means a prominent religious leader in Kashmir.

Hashim Qureshi: Hashim Qureshi has had an eventful career as a separatist leader.

Qureshi has gone from hijacking an Indian Airlines flight in 1971, founding the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF)— one of the most prominent militant organisations active during the insurgency in the Valley— to batting for peace and declaring Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King as his idols.

Although made out to be a hero by Pakistan, Qureshi was tried by a special court in the country and imprisoned. Qureshi was released in 1980 and, a decade later, he founded the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party (JKDLP). In 2000, Qureshi returned to India, and has since batted for a non-violent separation for Kashmir.

Bilal Lone: Lone is the elder brother of Sajjad Lone, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally in the Valley. The elder Lone heads 'Peoples Independent Movement' in the Hurriyat Conference. Lone's father, Abdul Gani Lone, was assassinated in 2002. Gani Lone was one of the tallest separatist leaders in the state. Another leader on the list, Bhat, was present at the spot when Gani Lone was assassinated.

Shabir Shah: Shabir Shah is also a veteran of separatist politics in the region. Shah was arrested for the first time in 1968 for organising a demonstration and has spent 30 years of his life in jail. Shah heads the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP). The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has accused Shah of being in touch with terrorist networks in Pakistan, including with Hafiz Saeed.

Most of the leaders on the list had stated that they did not need the security detail vehicles provided to them in the first place, and that the leaders had requested the government to remove them before.

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First Published on Feb 18, 2019 07:06 pm
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