The security cover provided to Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has been reduced by the Jammu & Kashmir government, the Ministry of Home Affairs clarified on Wednesday. The move comes over two weeks after Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohammad Ayoub Pandit was lynched publicly on June 23 in the Nowhatta area near Jamia Masjid, where Farooq occasionally delivers sermons.
Sources in the security wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Police told news agency PTI that the number of security personnel given to the Mirwaiz was reduced to half, from 16 to 8.
They said the process of downgrading the Mirwaiz’s security had started on June 29. According to sources, a DySP-rank officer deployed as personal security officer of the Mirwaiz was withdrawn on June 29 and no replacement was sent.
Following the fatal shooting of his father Mirwaiz Molvi Mohammad Farooq by Hizbul Mujahideen at his residence in 1990, Mirwaiz Umar was accorded ‘Z’ category security cover.
Mirwaiz confirmed the security cover downgrade and said that he had never asked for it in the first place. He added that the government was at liberty to remove all the police personnel guarding him.
“When my father was martyred under a deep conspiracy, our family shifted to Rajouri Kadal for some time. On our return to Nigeen residence, police personnel had been deployed there,” the Mirwaiz was quoted as saying.
He added that when he requested the removal of police cover he claimed that authorities told that the police cover will not be removed “as it is not a matter of our (family’s) choice but based on the government’s decision on their assessment of a threat perception to me”.
The lynching had triggered an outrage in Kashmir and had drawn all-round condemnation. So far, five of the 12 people identified by the police for their alleged involvement in the killing have been arrested.