Detention Drama: Hurriyat Leaders, Held Freed

SRINAGAR: As the arrest and subsequent release of separatist leaders Thursday created chaos and confusion about they being prevented by government from meeting Pakistan’s NSA Sartaj Aziz in New Delhi, the government, however, said it should not be an issue if they (separatists) are travelling from one part of the country to another.

Leaders like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Muhammad Yaseen Malik were put under house arrest during the early hours of Thursday. Police also raided the house of Dukhtaran-e-Milat chief Aasiya Andrabi who however was not present in her house.

Later, the authorities released all the separatist leaders except Syed Ali Geelani who reportedly is still under house detention. “Geelani Sahab is still under house detention. From last four months he is in the house and is not allowed to come out in open,” said Hurriyat (G) spokesperson Ayaz Akbar.

Government spokesperson and Education Minister Naeem Akhtar termed the confusion on arrest and release of separatists as a “communication gap at some local level”.

“Government was having no problem in separatists travelling from one part of country to another. “We are looking forward to the talks between two NSAs, who must meet and talks must go on,” he said.

The authorities also lifted the siege around the residential house of Shabir Ahmed Shah on Thursday afternoon. “After a long time I was released from the house detention,” Shah said adding that he is planning to leave for New Delhi on Saturday.

JKLF called a meeting soon after the release of its chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik and he decided not travel to New Delhi. Instead he will dispatch two leaders, Ghulam Rasool Eidhi and Showkat Bakshi for the meet. “Malik decided against meeting Aziz because he wanted to meet the NSA of Pakistan ahead of the talks between the two countries,” a party spokesperson said.”

However Shabir Ahmed Shah, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have already decided to take part in the scheduled meeting. Pakistan High Commission invited Kashmiri separatist leaders for a meeting with Aziz ahead of the India-Pakistan NSA-level talks scheduled on August 23.

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