The meeting apparently provides context to last week’s nearly simultaneous ‘public notices’ by Ruwa and Sama Shabir, daughter of jailed separatist leader Shabir Shah, in local newspapers where they distanced themselves from the separatist ideology of their fathers

By Muzaffar Raina

Jammu and Kashmir’s police chief R.S. Swain had an unlikely visitor at his Public Darbar or public outreach programme last month — Ruwa Shah, the outspoken grand-daughter of late Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

The police have surprisingly kept the meeting under wraps, notwithstanding its reputation to pounce on every opportunity to vilify the separatist camp.

A video of the Public Darbar, which took place in Baramulla on February 17, shows Ruwa, a former journalist, accompanied reportedly by her husband, turning up to air her grievance before the police chief.

The Police Public Darbar is an initiative of Swain, who became DGP in October last year, where residents air their grievances before him.

Swain is known for his strong anti-militancy stand and in November last year had vowed to act against writers “hiding behind freedom of speech and expression” but inciting “youth to pick up arms”, seen as a warning to journalists.

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