Jammu, February 21:

The BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit on Thursday welcomed the state administration’s decision to withdraw security cover of separatist leaders in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, and said it is a step towards “nailing anti-national elements” in the state.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration Wednesday withdrew security of 18 separatists and 155 political leaders, including Wahid Parra, a close aide of former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, and ex-bureaucrat Shah Faesal.

“We welcome the administration’s decision to withdraw security cover of separatists. Security withdrawal is a step towards nailing anti-national elements. Those who favour Pakistan need to be taught a lesson,” state BJP chief Ravinder Raina told reporters here.

He also welcomed the Union Cabinet’s decision of providing reservation to the economically weaker sections and extending quota for SC/STs in promotion to Jammu and Kashmir.

Raina thanked Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Governor Satya Pal Malik for the “set back to anti-national forces” caused by taking back the security cover of separatist leaders.

Besides pro-Pakistan separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani and JKLF chief Yaseen Malik, who had maintained that they never had any security the others named in the list are Aga Syed Mosvi, Maulvi Abbas Ansari and his son Masroor, Saleem Geelani, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Farooq Ahmed Kichloo, Aga Syed Abul Hussain, Abdul Gani Shah and Mohd Musadiq Bhat.

In addition, the security of 155 political persons and activists, who did not require the security provided to them based on their threat assessment and activities, was also withdrawn.

Raina said by this move, a very strict message has been given by the governor and the Union home minister to the anti-national elements who always conspired against the country and worked to halt development.

“They took away books and handed guns to kids in the Valley. They all acted as agent of Pakistan and destroyed Kashmir. We seek speedy trial in cases pending against such persons. They tried to disturb the peace of the region,” the state BJP chief said.

“Pakistan has been given a befitting rely by our brave security forces for its actions across the border. It has suffered heavy losses due to the retaliatory action by our forces in Poonch.”

Raina accused Congress, NC and PDP leaders for having soft corner for Pakistan and the terrorists sponsored by it and said, “The civil society of Kashmir has also started to understand the reality that these leaders have no respect for the lives of common masses.”

Kashmiris are now supporting the security forces and coming forward in large numbers to join them, he added.