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J&K police strikes big–43 ex-terrorists, separatists detained while ‘working on revival of Hurriyat, JKLF’

J&k DGP Dilbagh Singh (Left) has been leading counter-terror operations in the Union Territory (File Photo)

The Jammu and Kashmir Police in Srinagar have detained 43 separatists, including the sons of two senior Hurriyat leaders, when they had gathered allegedly over the agenda of reviving the separatist conglomerate and the outlawed Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

Knowledgeable sources said that a former JKLF militant, Mohammad Yasin Bhat, had organised a get-together and lunch for over 40 former militants and separatists at a hotel in Srinagar Civil Lines on Sunday. While the meeting was underway, a posse of the J&K Police swooped down on the hotel and lifted all the participants for questioning at the nearby Kothibagh Police Station.

Senior officials said that 43 persons were detained for questioning after the Police received information that the former terrorists and separatist activists were working on revival of the defunct Hurriyat Conference and the outlawed JKLF. Their sustained interrogation was going on till late in the evening on Sunday.

At 11:00 pm on Sunday, Srinagar District Police tweeted: “A Search was conducted on basis of credible info about meeting of some ex-trts of JKLF & erstwhile separatists in a hotel in Srinagar. They were brought to Kothibagh PS for verification. Inquiry has started, prima facie it came out that they were planning to revive JKLF & hurriyat”.

Sources said that those detained for sustained questioning included a prominent separatist activist Firdaus Ahmad Shah, and Mohammad Yasin Bhat, formerly a prominent member of JKLF. Former Hurriyat chairman and cleric late Maulvi Abbas Ansari’s son Masroor Abbas Ansari and another former Hurriyat chairman Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat’s son, Jehangir Ahmad Bhat, have also been lifted from the meeting for questioning.

While the separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference has never been banned by the authorities since the day it was formed with Pakistan’s overt support in 1993, its key constituent JKLF stands declared as an outlawed organisation since February 2019. For years, the JKLF, founded by Maqbool Bhat and Amanullah Khan in the 1960s, retained its guerrilla and political arms as also its legal and diplomatic wings.

JKLF’s chairman and former “chief commander” Yasin Malik stands booked in a large number of murder and terror-related cases including the kidnapping of the former Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s daughter, Rubaiya Sayeed, and the killing for four Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel in 1989-90. Trial in both the high- profile cases is going on at a TADA Court in Jammu.

Malik has been awarded multiple imprisonments including a life sentence in a 2017 case related to terror funding and activities in which he pleaded guilty of all charges framed on him.

Official sources said that the J&K Police swung into action on Sunday after receiving “credible information” about the meeting and its criminal agenda. The separatists had gathered at a hotel in close vicinity of the Kothibagh Police Station and office of Superintendent of Police (City) East.

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