Srinagar: Of the 43 separatists who were detained by the Srinagar district police after they held a meeting in a hotel on Sunday, 10 have been booked and formally arrested on charges of attempting to revive the separatist Hurriyat Conference and the outlawed Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Those booked in a fresh case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and section 121-A of Indian Penal Code include former Hurriyat chairman Professor Abdul Gani Bhat’s son, Jehangir Ahmad Bhat and former terrorist Yasin Bhat, who was previously associated with JKLF’s student wing JKSLF and Ikhwanul Muslimeen and was involved in several high profile kidnappings in 1991.
Sources said that incumbent Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s public relations incharge Sayeed-ur-Rehman Shams, a non-domicile living in Kashmir since 1985, has also been booked and arrested.
Others who have been arrested in the case include Mohammad Rafiq Pahloo, Khurshid Ahmad Bhat, Shabir Ahmad Dar, Sajad Hussain Gul, Firdous Ahmad Shah, Parray Hassan Firdous and Sohail Ahmad Mir.
“The arrested persons and others were planning to revive these organisations on the directions of Pakistan-based handlers. This meeting was an overt attempt to start working for revival of these moribund organisations. Initial investigation has also revealed that they were in touch with entities based abroad, a few of them were members of many groups that propagate secessionism like Kashmir Global Council headed by Farooq Siddiqui and Raja Muzaffar of JKLF,” said a press release from Srinagar District Police.
“The real agenda of the meeting was discussing a strategy of revival. Initial investigation has also revealed that a similar preliminary meeting took place on 13th June 2023, which was attended by most of them. Investigation in the case is in full swing and some more arrests are likely to take place,” the police media release added.
Sources said that some of the participants and organisers of the meeting were “directly in touch with their handlers in Pakistan who wanted them to revive secessionism and insurgency in the Union Territory. They said that the group’s first meeting had taken place in Srinagar on 13 June, 2023.
Those released after 24-hour-long sustained interrogation on Monday included former Hurriyat chairman and Shia Muslim cleric late Maulvi Abbas Ansari’s son Masroor Abbas Ansari. Official sources said that he was not found actively involved in the current efforts of the revival of Hurriyat and JKLF, though he too attended the separatists’ get-together organised by the former Ikhwanul Muslimeen terrorist Mohammad Yasin Bhat at a hotel in Srinagar Civil Lines.
According to sources, Ittehadul Muslimeen founder Abbas Ansari’s successor son Masroor is also a kidney transplant patient. His religious organisation conducts several Moharram congregations and mourning processions which are just a week away. The group has claimed that Masroor Ansari was attending a religious function on occasion of Eid-e-Ghadeer at the hotel.
Officials, however, dismissed Ittihadul Muslimeen’s claim and asked why only a couple of the participants were from the Shia community. Eid-e-Ghadeer is celebrated by only the Shia Muslim community. They asserted that the invitees had been selectively from the former terrorists and separatists. In all, 33 of the detainees have been let off after questioning.