The Jammu and Kashmir administration has withdrawn security of 18 separatist leaders and more than 155 politicians in the state, reported news agency PTI. According to the spokesperson of the Home Department, it was felt that providing security to these separatist leaders is a wastage of scarce state resources which could be better utilised elsewhere. Among the leaders whose security has been downgraded and withdrawn are SAS Geelani, Aga Syed Mosvi, Maulvi Abbas Ansari, Yaseen Malik, Saleem Geelani, Shahid ul Islam, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Farooq Ahmed Kichloo, Masroor Abbas Ansari, Aga Syed Abul Hussain, Abdul Gani Shah and Mohd Musadiq Bhat.
The step means more than 1000 police personnel and over 100 vehicles are free to do regular police work.
The move comes three days after the state administration 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 Besides Mirwaiz, the security cover for Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone, Hashim Qureshi and Shabir Shah was withdrawn. However, there is no mention of pro-Pakistan separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani in the order.
According to the order, all security and vehicles provided to the separatists will stand withdrawn. 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 If they have any other facilities provided by the government, they are to be withdrawn forthwith.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during his visit to Srinagar on last 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.