New Delhi: Reacting sharply to Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to withdraw security cover for five separatist leaders, the Hurriyat Conference said they had never sought it at the first place. Notably, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has issued orders to withdraw security of five separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in the aftermath of deadly Pulwama attack that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel on February 14.

Besides Mirwaiz, security cover to Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone, Hashim Qureshi and Shabir Shah has also been withdrawn. No security cover was provided to two pro-Pakistani separatist leaders, Syed Ali Geelani and Muhammad Yasin Malik.

“The government decided on its own to provide security to separatist leaders which was never demanded in the first place,” one of the five separatists leaders, said in a statement.

“Mirwaiz Umer Farooq in fact said many times during his Friday sermons that he wanted withdrawal of the security cover. The decision to withdraw security will neither change the stand of the separatist leaders nor affect the situation on the ground,” the statement added.

Earlier in the day, the J&K administration had issued an order which said,”All security and vehicles provided to the separatists will stand withdrawn by Sunday evening. No security forces or cover will be provided, under any pretext, to them or any other separatists. If they have any other facilities provided by the government, they are to be withdrawn forthwith.”

Officials had said that the police will review if there are any other separatists who have security or facilities which will be withdrawn immediately.