New Delhi: Four government employees, including the wife of separatist leader Bitta Karate and the son of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, were dismissed from service for their involvement in ‘anti-national activities’, Jammu and Kashmir government officials told ThePrint.
The four officials are 2011 batch Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Service officer Assabah-ul-Arjamand Khan; Dr Muheet Ahmad Bhat, Scientist-D working with Kashmir University; Majid Hussain Qadri, Senior Assistant Professor at Kashmir University and Syed Abdul Mueed, Manager IT, Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI).
While Assabah is the wife of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Karate, who is an accused in the 1990 killings of Kashmiri Pandits, Mueed is the son of the Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin.
The dismissal was ordered under Article 311 of the Constitution that provides for dismissal of a person employed in civil capacities under Union or a State.
“The activities of these employees had come to the adverse notice of law enforcement and intelligence agencies, as they have been found involved in activities prejudicial to the interests of the security of the State,” the J&K government said in a statement.
The dismissals are part of a larger crackdown by the J&K administration that has been on for the past one year. Last year in July, ThePrint had reported that two sons of the Hizbul chief and 11 J&K government employees were dismissed by the Union Territory administration for their alleged involvement in “supporting militant activities”, “working as over ground workers”, “arranging weapons for terrorists” and “terror funding”.
“We have found that there are people who have been given these posts through backdoor channels and have been involved in anti-national activities, while drawing salaries from the Indian government. There are many relatives of sympathisers who are holding crucial positions in government services and are misusing the same. This crackdown is essentially to identify those people and root them out to clean the system,” a source said.
According to J&K officials, a committee was constituted in July 2020 for scrutinising the inputs, records and cognizable material against the government employees, which led to the dismissals.
Speaking to ThePrint, Muheet Bhat dismissed the allegations as “baseless” and “without any proof”.
“I was shocked when I got to know about this dismissal today. All these allegations are baseless, and I will go to the court. I have never even been a part of any protest myself. How would I organise one and encourage students to be a part of that? Moreover, I was never called by anyone for questioning. The allegation links with Lashkar-e-Taiba are laughable,” he claimed. “I don’t even know how to react and what to say. If they had any such inputs, they would have confronted me. They have taken this action without any proof, without any basis.”
ThePrint also contacted Assabah but her phone was switched off.
‘Deep ties with terror outfits, recruitment and terror funding’
According to government sources, Assabah was found to be involved in “providing false information for seeking passport” and was having “links with foreign people who have been indexed by the Indian security and intelligence to be on the payrolls of the Inter-Sevices Intelligence (ISI)”.
Officials also alleged that she was involved in ferrying money for “funding anti-India activities in Jammu and Kashmir”.
According to the sources, Assabah’s alleged association with the ISI came to the fore during the trial of her husband.
The sources added that Assabah got a job in Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology-Kashmir in 2003 through a “backdoor channel”, which was “managed by someone in the administration.”
Between 2003 and 2007, they said, she was absent from work for months together and also travelled to Germany, UK, Helsinki, Sri Lanka and Thailand during that time and was working as “a cash mule for JKLF”.
“For these travels, while her departure was through airports, her arrival in India was mostly through the road route of Nepal and Bangladesh. The money that Assabah was couriering to India was pumped in to carry out terror activities,” one of the sources said.
On the other hand, Bhat was allegedly found involved in “propagating secessionist-terrorist agenda in University of Kashmir by radicalising the students for advancing the programme and agenda of Pakistan and its proxies”.
A Group D scientist in the Department of Computer Sciences, Bhat was an executive member of the Kashmir University Teachers Association (KUTA) from 2017 to 2019 as well as its president from 2017 to 2019.
According to sources, he played a “key role in organising student protests and street protests in 2016 in which several people were killed and injured”.
“As a member of KUTA, Muheet distributed its funds to stone pelters and some families of terrorists. In January 2018, Muheet provided financial assistance to families of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists. He also arranged funds to pay to the families of terrorist killed by security forces,” the source said.
According to the source, KUTA had avoided its registration as a society to avoid the audit scanner and yet continued to use banking channels.
The third official to be sacked was Qadri, a senior assistant professor in University of Kashmir, who, the sources said, was found to have had “a long association with terror organisations that includes LeT”.
Qadri had been earlier booked under the Public Safety Act, in which he was later acquitted. In March 2007, he was appointed as contractual lecturer and went on to become a permanent staff member in 2010.
Majid Husaain Qadri, the sources said, was “LeT point-person for Kashmir University for radicalisation, and recruitment.”
Mueed, the fourth sacked official, was working as manager IT in JKEDI and is the son of Hizbul chief Syed Salahudin. He was appointed as an IT consultant on a contractual basis in 2012, government officials told ThePrint.
The sources also said that rules were circumvented to appoint Mueed.
According to the sources, Mueed was also found to have had a role in “three terror attacks on JKEDI complex at Sempora in Pampore and his presence in the institution has increased sympathy with the secessionist forces”. He is also suspected to have been involved in three terror attacks executed in and around JKEDI complex in Pampore.
(Edited By Tony Rai)