Amnesty International team meets Kashmiri separatist leader

Srinagar, May 18 (Calcutta Tube) A two-member team of human rights body Amnesty International Tuesday called on Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group.

The team, comprising Bikram J. Batra and Ramesh Gopal Krishen, arrived here Monday for a six-day visit to assess the human rights situation. They would focus their attention on preventive detentions.

Farooq welcomed their visit. ‘The team must see the ground realities in Kashmir and report back accordingly.’

They also visited the house of senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah who has been under preventive detention for the last several months.

Amnesty International has in the past reported on human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir and also sought the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Senior hardline separatist leader and chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat group, Syed Ali Geelani, has expressed reservations over the team’s visit, maintaining that both the visiting members were Indian nationals who Geelani feared ‘would sacrifice truth for their national interest’.

Reacting to Geelani’s remarks, Batra said: ‘Having preconceived notions about the team’s visit would only brew misconceptions.’

The members will meet government representatives, members of the civil society and local rights activists during their stay in the valley.

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