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J&K: Government withdraws security cover of 4 separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 17, 2019, 11.57 AM (IST)

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has withdrawn the security cover given to four Kashmiri separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. 

"We are issuing orders withdrawing all security and any government facilities provided to separatist leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Abdul Ghani Bhat, Bilal Lone and Shabir Shah. All security and any vehicles provided to them will stand withdrawn by today evening," the J&K administration's order said. 

"No security cover should be provided under any pretext to them or any separatists. If they have any facilities provided by government, they are to be withdrawn forthwith. Police will review if there are any separatists who have government security or facilities and will withdraw them immediately," the order added. 

The order however made no mention of pro-Pakistan leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, seen as the tallest of the separatist leaders. 

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There was no reason given as to why the security cover of the leaders was being withdrawn but the move comes two days after over 40 CRPF personnel were killed in the Pulwama attack. 

J&K

A local Kashmiri youth Adil Ahmad Dar had rammed a car packed full of explosive into a bus ferrying CRPF personnel. The bus had been part of a convoy of 78 vehicles transporting 2,500 CRPF personnel from Jammu to Srinagar. The attack was later claimed by the Jaish-e-Mohammed, which is headed by Masood Azhar who is based out of Pakistan. 

Azhar is one of the three terrorists released by India after the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC 814 in Kathmandu. 

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on Friday said that the security given to people getting funds from Pakistan and its spy agency ISI should be reviewed.

"Some elements in Jammu and Kashmir have links with the ISI and terrorist organisations. Their security should be reviewed," Singh had said in Kashmir. He was in the state to review the security situation after the Pulwama attack. 

The Pulwama attack has baffled Indian intelligence agencies considering the losses Jaish has suffered recently in Kashmir. 

Since the attack, India has raised customs duties on Pakistani imports by 200 per cent, making trade with its neighbour virtually impossible. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also announced that he has given Indian security forces a free hand to respond to the Pulwama attack at a time and place of their choosing. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has promised India will give a "muh-tod" (befitting) reply to the attack. 

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No security cover will be provided under any pretext to these five leaders and other separatists," PTI quoted officials as saying.