Kashmir Separatists Under Government Scanner Over Children Living Abroad

In the last three years, schools and colleges in Kashmir have been shut for over 240 days due to frequent shutdowns in the wake of bandhs and protest calls given by separatists.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani's grandchildren work in Pakistan and Turkey (File)

Srinagar:

Kashmiri separatists are under scanner for sending their children and relatives to foreign countries for education and jobs. Union Home Ministry has come up with a list of over 200 family members of separatists who are living in different countries.

In the last three years, schools and colleges in Kashmir have been shut for over 240 days due to frequent shutdowns in the wake of bandhs and protest calls given by separatists.

But as the large number of school and college going students in the valley suffer, children of many Hurriyat leaders study and work abroad.

The two sons of jailed Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Asiya Andrabi are studying in Malaysia and Australia. Hurriyat leader Bilal Lone's children are studying in London and Australia. The two sons of Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, Chairman, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat studied abroad and are now working in Saudi Arabia. The two grandchildren of Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani work in Pakistan and Turkey.

"The problem is, once they do it they must also think about other people they claim to be representing. They have been frequently calling for shutdowns in the Kashmir valley... but after the data we have with us now, they have forfeited their right to call for shutdowns," said Ahmad Ali Fayaz, a Srinagar based journalist.

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However, local leaders dispute this. Shah Faesal, officer-turned-politician, says everyone has a right to send their children for education anywhere.

"Everyone has a right send their children abroad for education. If any other politician has right to send his children abroad, I think Hurriyat leaders also have a right," he said.

According to officials records, not just children but apparently over the years, many separatists have sent most of their relatives abroad. Officials now say they are investigating how these people are being funded and if there are any Hawala links as well.

Officials say it is for the first time centre has shown its intent to act against separatists on this count to expose their hypocrisy.