Hurriyat rejects police claim of selling MBBS seats in Pakistan to Kashmiris to fund militancy
On August 18, the Counter Intelligence Kashmir (CIK) wing of J&K Police arrested four persons including a senior separatist leader for allegedly selling Pakistan-based MBBS seats to Kashmiri students
SRINAGAR: After the Jammu and Kashmir’s police Counter Insurgency Kashmir (CIK) wing arrested four separatist leaders and accused Hurriyat Conference constituents of selling MBBS seats in Pakistan to fund militancy and separatist activities, the Hurriyat Conference led by cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has rejected the claim.
“The Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz completely rejects and denounces the propaganda being promoted in print and other media by authorities that its executive leadership, who could recommend aspiring Kashmiri candidates to medical and technical colleges in Pakistan, would sell the seats to students for money,” a Hurriyat spokesman said.
He said the Hurriyat wants to put on record that “this is completely unfounded” and can be verified by students or parents whom they have recommended. “Many among them were from among economically weak sections.”
“Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is also the Mirwaiz of Kashmir, has all along been giving recommendation letters to students for their benefit who were coming to him asking for it for colleges and universities in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Turkey and elsewhere,” the spokesman said.
On August 18, the Counter Intelligence Kashmir (CIK) wing of J&K Police arrested four persons including a senior separatist leader Zafar Akbar Bhat for allegedly selling Pakistan-based MBBS seats to Kashmiri students by Hurriyat leaders and using part of the money in funding militancy and separatism.
Besides Zaffar Bhat, other arrested persons included Fatima Shah, Mohammad Abdullah Shah and Sabzar Ahmad Sheikh. Two more persons Altaf Ahmad Bhat, who is brother of Zaffar Bhat and presently in Pakistan and Manzoor Ahmad Shah, who is the brother of accused Abdullah Shah and presently living in Pakistan, have also been booked and declared absconders.
According to police, the investigation found that on an average, the cost of an MBBS seat in Pakistan ranged between 10 to 12 lakhs and in some cases, the price was brought down on influence of Hurriyat leaders.
"On the basis of available evidence, a conservative estimate indicated that the money involved could be around Rs 4 crore per annum as allocation of seats for distribution by individual Hurriyat leaders were around 40 seats for MBBS programme every year. It could be more. This aspect is still open and a matter of further investigation,” police had said.
Police said investigation in the case (FIR number 05/2020 under section 13, 17, 22A, 40 Unlawful Activities Prevention Act read with section 4 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act) registered last year suggested that money collected from parents of the aspiring students was used, at least partly, to support and fund militancy and separatism in different ways.
Meanwhile, a Hurriyat spokesman said the Hurriyat reiterates that the sentiments of J&K people with regard to resolution of the Kashmir dispute in a peaceful and fair manner cannot be altered despite repression, legal tactics or propaganda.
“Hurriyat led by Miwaiz will always represent those aspirations and seek their fulfillment through its principled stand of dialogue and deliberations among the stakeholders of the conflict,” he added.
Hurriyat chairman and cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is under house detention since August 5, 2019 when the Centre scrapped J&K’s special status and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.