SRINAGAR: Over two decades, Hurriyat members and other separatists earned a fortune by facilitating medical and engineering seats to wards of influential families of J&K, including kids of cops and politicians, as well as accommodating their own kin in colleges in Pakistan and PoK.
The train of students going to Pakistan interestingly enough failed to attract any action from successive Indian governments since the quotas were first set up in 2000. The seats were ostensibly meant for Kashmiri children whose parents or bread–earner were killed in the conflict in J&K. What came to pass was separatists selling seats designated for orphans between Rs 10 lakh to 20 lakh each.
The separatists preferred students from Sopore and Baramulla areas besides other parts of north Kashmir, a Hurriyat insider said. Though fees are charged, students are provided 100% scholarship, free accommodation and a per diem. Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s differences with Ghulam Mohammad Safi over alleged corruption brought the can of worms out in the public.
While four of the siblings of Safi are either doctors or engineers, one daughter is a journalist in Islamabad. Geelani refused to hand over leadership of the PoK chapter of his Hurriyat faction to Safi. Interestingly, police officers, bureaucrats and main
stream politicos also managed MBBS seats for their wards through Hurriyat leaders.
The daughter of a police officer who was in former CM Mehbooba Mufti’s security is understood to a beneficiary. The girl is currently at the Peoples University of Medical and Health Sciences for Women in Sindh in Pakistan. Likewise, a daughter of another retired DSP and a former deputy commissioner’s daughter were given MBBS seats in lieu of money, the Hurriyat source said. Hurriyat patron Syed Geelani Ali Geelani’s aides like Ghulam Mohammad Sofi alias Safi in Islamabad in Pakistan would operate through Geelani’s jailed private secretary Ayaz Akbar.
representative Fayaz Naqshbandi
Prof Abdul Gani Bhat
are also understood to have been involved. Jailed separatist Shabir Shah’s representative in Islamabad was one Mehmood Sagar, originally a Kashmiri dry fruit shopkeeper of Saribala in Srinagar, as also one Bashir Ahmad Wani.
The representatives or the conduits would arrange seats and money was received by the Hurriyat and separatist leaders here in Kashmir, the Hurriyat insider said. Importantly, while Geelani’s Hurriyat faction has 22 constituents, Mirwaiz- headed Hurriyat is a conglomerate of 27 smaller separatist groups.
Both the groups are involved in monetary transfers, according to the insider.
Syed Ali Geelani
’s resignation from the Hurriyat faction on June 29 exposed the scandal when he cited sale of Pakistani medical seats by his constituent outfit leaders as one of the main reasons of his quitting the amalgam.