Woman separatist leader booked for hoisting Pak flag

Srinagar: Woman separatist leader Aasiya Andrabi, who had triggered a controversy by hoisting Pakistani flag here on Monday, was today booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act with police saying further action will be taken after an investigation.

"A case has been registered against Andrabi at Nowhatta Police station under Section 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act," a police officer said. He said investigations have started into the alleged hoisting of Pakistani flag by the chief of Dukhtaran-e-Millat on the National Day of Pakistan on March 23.

"Further action in the case will be taken as per rules," the officer said when asked if the firebrand separatist leader will be arrested. A controversy had erupted following media reports that Andrabi had hoisted flag of Pakistan and sung its national anthem on March 23 to "celebrate" Pakistan's National Day.

Reacting to the development, Andrabi, chief of women separatist outfit the 'Dukhtaran-e-Milat (Daughters of Faith), said she had not committed any crime. "It is quite strange why they had booked me under 13A (of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act)," she said.

The radical separatist group has been in news for an aggressive campaign against obscenity, vulgarity and other social evils.

The group campaigned against beauty parlours and obscene posters depicting women in bad light in the early 1990s in Kashmir.

Andrabi, wife of a separatist leader Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, has been engaged in separatist activities for over two decades. She was last arrested in 2010 for unlawful activities, waging war against the country and inciting violence. Political parties welcomed the step against her.

"The case has rightly been registered against her. It is a straight case of sedition...Jammu and Kashmir Police have taken the right decision," BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said in Delhi. He said those raising the Pakistani flag and singing its national anthem have no right to be in India.

Welcoming the decision, Congress leader P L Punia expressed happiness that "after the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government came to power, they have finally begun prosecuting some separatists. Otherwise they seemed to be only releasing everyone." He said the government should also immediately take steps to stop separatists meeting Pakistan's High Commissioner Abdul Basit.

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