SRINAGAR: Separatist leaders, whose security was withdrawn on Sunday, claimed that they had never approached the government for it and had taken it only on its insistence, the withdrawal of which, would not affect their stand on Kashmir.
Of the four separatist leaders, the Mirwaiz, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat and Bilal Lone claimed to have met former PM Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani during NDA’s rule in 2004.
Shabir Shah is currently in Tihar Jail after his arrest in 2017 by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case, while Hashim Qureshi, accused of hijacking Indian Airlines plane (Ganga) to Lahore in Pakistan, returned to Kashmir in 2000 and was provided security.
The Mirwaiz was provided security after the assassination of his father by suspected militants in 1990. Bilal Lone, whose brother Sajjad Ghani Lone is former BJP ally and minister, was provided security cover after the assassination of his father in 2002.