Pulwama attack: Security cover of 5 separatist leaders withdrawn by J&K administration

New Delhi: The Jammu and Kashmir authorities on Sunday decided to withdraw the security cover of five separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umer Farooq.

“A decision has been taken to withdraw the security cover of five separatist leaders — Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, professor Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone, Hashim Qureshi and Shabir Ahmad Shah,” state government sources said.

According to the order, all security and vehicles provided to the separatists will stand withdrawn by Sunday evening. No security forces or cover will be provided, under any pretext, to them or any other separatists. If they have any other facilities provided by the government, they are to be withdrawn forthwith.

Police will review if there are any other separatists who have security or facilities which will be withdrawn immediately, the officials said.

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 dastardly terror attack in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Forty CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror strikes in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber blew up an explosive-laden vehicle near their bus in Pulwama district.

The bus was part of a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying CRPF personnel from Jammu to Srinagar.

Unrest has been mounting in Jammu and Kashmir since the attack. While Jammu witnessed violent protests on Friday, Kashmir is witnessing a Sunday bandh called by trade bodies against the alleged harassment and attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu and outside the state.

The Kashmir bandh call is supported by major trade bodies like the Kashmir Economic Alliance and Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation as well as transporters’ associations.

Shops, fuel stations and other business establishments have been shut in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said. They said public transport was off the roads and cabs and auto-rickshaws also largely stayed away, they added. However, private cars were seen plying in many areas.

(With inputs from agencies)