Organiser Arrested Before J&K Separatist Meet21 April 2010
The Indian Express
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir police on Wednesday arrested Mohammad Ahsan Antoo, the head of the little-known body called Human Rights Forum, hours before he was to organise a conference to be tele-addressed by Lashkar-e-Toiba founder Hafiz Syed, Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin. Besides Antoo, the police also arrested four other separatist leaders including Javid Mir, Mukhtar Ahmad Sofi, Sheikh Zahoor Ahmad and Haji Farooq Ahmad Wani. They were heading towards the local hotel, where the meet was to be held, when the police took them into custody. “We had reports that they are going to play a taped message of Hafiz Mohammad Syed. Then Jaish’s Masood Azhar and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin were also going to address this gathering through phone. We investigated the matter and once we found out that it was not a seminar, but a separatist meeting, we had to act,” Inspector General of Police Farooq Ahmad told The Indian Express. “We stopped it. How can we allow such an activity here.” IGP Ahmad, however, refused to divulge the number of arrests made during the raids Wednesday morning. “We have made some arrests, some will be detained, some will be released. We are investigating the matter,” he said. In a statement issued later in the day, the International Forum for Justice and Human Rights Forum condemned the police action. “We regret to inform you that Indian government sabotaged the seminar by arresting the organiser, his colleagues and the participants. India is thus main hurdle to the peace in the sub-continent,” the statement said. The statement further said that many personalities from civil society and human rights activists including those from India were to participate in the seminar. They included Prof Hafiz Sayed, Syed Salahuddin, ex-ISI chief General Hameed Gul, Chairman of Kashmir Committee Mulana Fazal-ul-Rehman, PoK PM Farooq Haider, PoK speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir, Ameer Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan Munawar Hassan, chief editor of Nawai Waqt Majeed Nezami and Ammanullah Khan. The statement, however, does not mention Jaish chief Masood Azhar. Among the separatists in Valley, Antoo had invited to the seminar the chairmen of the both Hurriyat factions Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, JKLF chief Yasin Malik, president of Kashmir High Court Bar Association Mian Qayoom and Dukhtaran-i-Millat chief Asiya Andrabi.