Plea in SC to block funds, facilities for J&K separatists

Separatists in Jammu and Kashmir should not be given government funds and facilities, a petition to the Supreme Court said on Thursday.

The court agreed to hear next Wednesday the petition that said providing central funds to separatists should be declared "illegal and unconstitutional".

The petitioner, lawyer M L Sharma, said both the central government and Jammu and Kashmir are spending money on protecting Hurriyat leaders and it must be stopped as the funds are being misused for anti-India activities.

The petition lists the home ministry, the Jammu and Kashmir government and the Central Bureau of Investigation as respondents.

Sharma has also asked for a CBI investigation, arguing that the grant of funds to separatists has not been approved by parliament and is being given in the form of relief.

An all-party delegation of lawmakers that visited Jammu and Kashmir earlier this week has discussed a proposal to review facilities, including top security, provided to separatists who snubbed individual members of the team who tried to talk to them in Srinagar on Sunday.

The government's action could include scaling down security for separatists like hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who kept the gates of his Srinagar residence closed as the Left's Sitaram Yechury and some other MPs attempted to meet him on Sunday. His supporters greeted them with anti-India slogans.

Geelani and other separatists like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik also get airport privileges and free tickets to travel abroad, housing from the government and free medical services and the centre is considering withdrawing those perks.

The delegation had gone to Kashmir to hold talks with various stakeholders after violent clashes that have left over 70 people dead and nearly 10,000 injured since 8 July, when Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani was killed.