Militants may target Hurriyat leader

Central security agencies have asked police to tighten security around Hurriyat leaders especially Abdul Gani Bhat amidst terrorists attack reports.

Srinagar: Central security agencies have asked Jammu and Kashmir Police to tighten security around moderate Hurriyat conference leaders especially its former chairman Abdul Gani Bhat amid reports that terrorists may carry out assassination attempts to vitiate the atmosphere.

A threat assessment was recently carried out for the separatist leaders in the Kashmir Valley following intercepts that banned Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammed were planning to carry out the killing so that the peaceful atmosphere is vitiated in the region, official sources said on Sunday.

Bhat recently sparked off a controversy in the Valley saying that United Nation resolutions on Kashmir were irrelevant prompting angry protests from separatists like Shabir Shah and Nayem Khan. Bhat later denied having made such a statement.

According to the sources, Bhat, who has blamed Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit for the killing of his brother Mohammed Sultan Bhat in 1995, was the prime target of terror groups.

Despite the Hurriyat leader having given in writing turning down the security of the Jammu and Kashmir government, officials from state and the Centre favoured increasing of "shadow" security cover to him.

Shadow security cover is provided to unwilling protectees with policemen picketing near the premises and also keeping a watch as well as frisking visitors.

Other Hurriyat leaders including its chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq enjoy security cover. Bilal Lone and Maulana Abbas Ansari have been provided with personal security guards besides policemen at their homes. The Mirwaiz enjoys `Z` category protection.

Militants in the past have vitiated the atmosphere by killing separatist leaders beginning with Mirwaiz Farooq, father of the present Hurriyat chairman, which was followed by assassination of brother of Bhat in 1995 and later of Abdul Gani Lone in 2002.

The sources said that an attempt could be made on the life of Shabir Shah and his close aide Nayeem Khan and Jammu and Kashmir Police had been asked to make a fresh assessment for them.

According to Jammu and Kashmir police, Hizbul Mujahideen was responsible for killing of Mirwaiz Farooq while Jaish-e-Mohammed was behind the killing of Lone.


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