Barely two days after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh warned separatists of stringent action for waving Pakistani flags in Kashmir, the flags were again waved at a rally led by Shabir Ahmad Shah in this South Kashmir town.
The senior separatist leader justified the waving of Pakistani flags and shouting pro-Pakistan slogans, saying, "It is not a crime but a matter of sentiment, Kashmir is a disputed territory."
Addressing the gathering, Shah said, "I fail to understand why India gets annoyed at the waving of Pakistani flags in Kashmir as people have been doing it here since 1947. Had people been raising Pakistani flags in Kolkata, Delhi or Mumbai, then we would have realized India's concerns. But since Kashmir is a disputed territory and we are under illegal occupation of India, waving the flag here is no crime."
"We do not ask people to raise pro-Pakistan slogans or wave flags. They do it on their own as their sentiments are attached with Pakistan."
Hailing the role of Pakistan in Kashmir issue, Shah said the country has been supporting Kashmir on every front- moral, political and diplomatic.
"We owe a great deal to Pakistan as it has suffered a lot because of Kashmir. It fought three wars for us and despite confronting terrorism on their soil they are pleading our case in international forums," Shah said.
Earlier, Shah reached LalChowk Islamabad (Anantnag) after remaining in hiding to avoid arrest. He was accompanied by senior DFP leaders Muhamad Abdullah Tari, Sheikh Zahoor, MukhtarSofi, Manzoor Ahmad Ghazi, Advocate Fayaz Ahmad Saudagar and Engineer Farooq Khan. Later, Ummat-I-Islami chairman Qazi Ahmad Yasir also joined the rally. The rally concluded peacefully. However, the protesters torched BhartiyaJanta Party (BJP) flags.
Soon after the rally, Shah was taken into custody by police from Khanabal when he was on way back home in Srinagar. Mohammad Abdullah Tari and Molvi Bashir Ahmad, close aides of Shah, were also detained.
A police official said Shah has been booked under Unlawful Activities Act. "All people involved in waving Pakistan flags will be arrested," he said.