Woman Separatist Leader Andrabi, Colleague Arrested28 August 2010
The Economic Times
Srinagar: Hardline woman separatist leader Asiya Andrabi was arrested on Saturday by a special operations group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police. Andrabi heads the hawkish pro-Pakistan separatist organisation Dukhteran-e-Milat, a constituent of Syed Ali Geelani faction of the Hurriyat. She was arrested along with along with her second-in-command, Fahmeeda, in Srinagar. The development brings to an end nearly three months of manhunt launched by the police. Andrabi is believed to be one of the masterminds of the current unrest in the Kashmir Valley. Dukhteran-e-Milat is seen as bringing in Taliban-like rules which includes veils for women, opposition to education for girls and ban on using of cosmetics. The police has confirmed the arrest. Inspector General of the Kashmir zone Farooq Ahmad said, ”we arrested Asiya Andrabi along with one of her colleagues from the Malpor Zakura area of Srinagar this morning. The two were picked up by a special team, headed by SSP (Srinagar) Ashiq Bukhari.” The arrest is significant as Andrabi has been evading the police dragnet for long. She is alleged to have been receiving regular funds from Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashker-e-Taiba. Andrabi was taken to the women’s police station in Rambagh for interrogation. She is likely to be booked under Public Safety Act. Together with Masarat Alam, a young leader aligned to the Geelani faction of the Hurriyat, Andrabi has been spearheading the “Quit Kashmir campaign”. Alam, who has gone underground is wanted by the police. Security forces have been on the look out for both these separatist leaders to scuttle the frequently called separatist shutdowns and protests in the Valley. Both Andrabi and Alam are believed to be behind the stone-pelting campaign in the valley. Meanwhile, curfew was imposed in Srinagar, Sopore and Kunzar in view of protest marches and shutdown called by the separatists across the Kashmir valley. In Srinagar, curfew impacted 34 police station areas. Imposition of curfew in Sopore and Kunzar towns of Baramulla district has been done as a precautionary measure. Police said that law enforcement agencies have been advised to allow the movement of government employees after showing their identity cards. The Geelani faction of Hurriyat Conference had called for a complete shutdown, sit-in protests and march to Tourist Reception Centre ground on Saturday. Geelani, who was to address the gathering, was placed under house arrest on Saturday morning. Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, who was to address the gathering, was also placed under house arrest. “I have been placed under house arrest this morning as we had planned a religious gathering at Ali Masjid,” Mirwaiz said.