Srinagar, Mar 30 (PTI) Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq today said it was up to the government to withdraw his security cover as he had never asked for it.

“I reiterate that government is free to withdraw the police personnel as and when it wants as I have never asked for it,” the Mirwaiz said addressing Friday congregation at the Jamia Masjid here.

Apparently referring to Centre’s written response to a question in Parliament, Mirwaiz said the issue of police cover provided to him is being raked up and “exploited” by the government.

“Drums are being beaten about the expenditure incurred on the cover. What is obvious is the pettiness of such people that they can play politics even on such an issue,” he said.

The Mirwaiz said after the killing of his father, Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq by militants in 1990, police personnel were stationed at his house at Nigeen when he returned from Mirwaiz Manzil Rajouri Kadal where his family were staying for two months.

“When we inquired (about the presence of police personnel), it was communicated that it was obligatory on the state to provide the cover based on their assessment of threat perception to me after my fathers Shahadat (martyrdom), and will not be removed,” he said.

“While hundreds of crores are spent on the police cover provided to thousands of people in the state, singling me out and drumming it up when they very well know the background of the whole issue shows their shallowness,” he added.

Mirwaiz said for him prayers of his people are “my protection and their selfless love and trust in me my strength and asset”.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.