SRINAGAR: Ahead of their proposed meeting with Pakistan's National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz in Delhi, senior Kashmiri separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Abbas Ansari were today put under house arrest here.
While hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was already under house arrest, similar restrictions were placed for moderate faction chief Mirwaiz Umer Farooq at his Nigeen residence and for Abbas Ansari, who lives in Nawakadal, police and Hurriyat sources said.
Spokesperson of hardline Hurriyat Ayaz Akbar was put under house arrest in HMT area and security has been stepped up outside the Hyderpora residence of Geelani, a police official said, adding raids are on to detain second rung leaders of the separatist amalgam.
Pakistan High Commission in Delhi had invited Geelani for a meeting on August 24 with Aziz, who will be in the national capital for talks with Indian NSA Ajit Doval. Moderate separatist leaders have also been invited for a reception being hosted by the High Commission in New Delhi for the visiting Pakistani official on August 23.
India had cancelled Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan in August last year after its envoy invited separatist leaders for consultations ahead of the meeting in Islamabad.
Police said JKLF leader Yasin Malik was detained at Kothibagh police station. A raid was also carried out at the house of Asiya Andrabi. Criticising Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti
Mohammed Sayeed, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said state governments had never detained Hurriyat leaders in the past to prevent them from visiting the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi.
He claimed the Indo-Pakistan talks were being held "under international pressure" with both countries hoping the other will pull out. "Shelling, Infiltration, terror attacks & now Hurriyat arrests, clearly no side wants to talk & yet neither side has the guts to call it off," the former chief minister said in a series of tweets.
"Shame on Mufti Syed for arresting on demand. He had no business following his masters orders & detaining the Hurriyat leaders like this. "J&K State governments in the past have NEVER detained
the APHC leaders so as to prevent them from visiting the Pak High Commission. If the Centre was so keen to prevent the Hurriyat leaders from meeting Sartaj Aziz they should've been told to detain them themselves," Omar said on Twitter.
"I've never seen an Indo-Pak dialogue where both sides are so keen to sabotage it. India & Pak competing to give reasons to call off talks. It's so obvious that Ufa & now these planned NSA talks are under international pressure with both Ind & Pak hoping the other will pull out," he tweeted.