The Srinagar police on Wednesday foiled an attempt by a local human rights activist to make Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Salahuddin and the former ISI chief, Hamid Gul, to address a seminar here through tele-conferencing from Lahore and Muzaffarabad.
The seminar titled ‘Role of pro-freedom leaders vis-à-vis Kashmir issue' was scheduled to be held in a local hotel here and was to be attended by top separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik.
Shortly before it began, scores of policemen raided the hotel and arrested the organiser, Muhammad Ahsan Antoo, who heads a local human rights body ‘Human Rights Forum,' Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (R) leader Javaid Ahmad Mir and three others.
Sources said an audio recording of the speech of Hafiz Saeed, who is considered to be a mastermind of Mumbai attacks, was to be played during the seminar. He has reportedly drawn a parallel between the “struggles” in Afghanistan and Kashmir, and seeks their simultaneous resolution in his speech.
Inspector-General, Kashmir zone, Farooq Ahmad said the police would not allow such activities though it had no objections with the seminar.
“If he [Antoo] is a human rights activist, how can he involve people like Saeed, Salah-ud-din and Moulana Masood Azhar,” he added.
Separatists, however, termed it undemocratic. “This is an undemocratic move and I condemn it in strong words,” said Mr. Geelani. The Mirwaiz condemned it and said: “It is really unfortunate that the authorities don't allow us to conduct democratic activities here in the State.”