February 2003 News

Hurriyat's Delhi Office Closed

9 February 2003
The Statesman

New Delhi: Three days after its two leaders were arrested on charges of receiving money from Pakistan's deputy high commissioner for terrorists, the Hurriyat was forced to close its office in the capital today. The separatist group, which was running Kashmir Awareness Bureau in a rented appartment in Malviya Nagar, was asked to vacate the premises by the house owner. The owner, a woman, was apparently 'under pressure', following the arrest of Shabir Ahmad Dar and Anjum Zamrooda Habib, to ask the Hurriyat to vacate the premises, police sources said. Yesterday, VHP and Bajrang Dal activists had demonstrated outside the KAB office and demanded that the premises be vacated. The building that housed the office has some residential apartments as well. Hurriyat chairman Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat made it clear on Friday that the group was considering to close the office for alleged 'harrassment' of its leaders at the hands of Delhi Police. The development comes even as Delhi Police was contemplating to move court to seek closure of the office, which the Hurriyat opened in November 1995. The Hurriyat is feeling the heat on another front too. The group called for a bandh demanding the release of the seniormost leader of its executive, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, but the government had already taken a decision in Mr Geelani's favour. As a result, the response to the bandh call was lukewarm. Getting punched on both ends, the Hurriyat today accused the Centre of 'doling out carrot and stick treatment' to the Kashmiri leadership and iterated its stand that a 'meaningful dialogue' to resolve the issue was possible only with Pakistan's involvement. 'We welcome Geelani's release, but at the same time we shouldn't read too much into it as the government seems to be doling out carrot and stick treatment to the leadership,' Hurriyat chairman Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat said in Srinagar. The Mufti Md Sayeed government last night issued the order to release Mr Geelani on parole considering his ill health. He had been in detention under the Public Safety Act for about nine months. On the closure of the Hurriyat office, Prof. Bhat said it was an attempt to 'clip the wings of the conglomerate'. Id truce: The Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen today called off all its militant operations in J&K for a week from tomorrow because of Id-ul-Zoha, which falls on Wednesday, a report from Srinagar adds. A spokesman for the pro- Pakistan outfit said the 'commanders' had been directed not to attack security forces or surrendered militants anywhere in the state during the six-day period.

 

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