Amid ban murmurs, Geelani home drops Hurriyat board

SRINAGAR: Amid murmurs of an impending ban on both factions of the secessionist Hurriyat Conference, ailing patriarch Syed Ali Shah Geelani's kin appeared to shield themselves from the administration's glare by hurriedly removing a Tehreek-e-Hurriyat signboard from the three-storey annexe of their palatial family residence in Srinagar's Hyderpora neighbourhood.

The move contrasted with the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat faction's defiance in the face of a crackdown on an alleged racket involving "sale" of medical and engineering seats in Pakistan to Kashmiri students and funnelling the proceeds into secessionist activities in J&K. The Mirwaiz, who is under house arrest, said on Monday that his organisation had been transparently sending Kashmiri students to study medicine or engineering not only to Pakistan but also Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Turkey.

"The propaganda is completely unfounded, and can be verified by those students or parents whom we have recommended for admission, many among them being from the economically weaker sections," he said.