New Delhi: Returning from a private visit to Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yasin Malik on Saturday faced a protest from some right-wing activists, demanding his arrest for sharing a stage along with 26/11 accused Hafiz Saeed.
"There were protests outside the airport after Malik arrived but nothing untoward happened," a senior police officer said.
Malik defended his position.
"I staged protest against the hanging of (parliament attack convict) Afzal Guru. It did not amount to any violence," he told reporters outside the airport.
According to police sources, the separatist leader arrived in Delhi at about 7.30 p.m. He is expected to stay overnight and is likely to travel to Srinagar on Sunday.
Malik was seen sharing the dais with Jamaat-e-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, wanted for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The duo were photographed at a sit-in protest in Islamabad following the hanging of Afzal Guru.
This created a flutter in the country and led to demands for cancellation of his Indian passport.
No case has been registered against Malik so far either under the Passport Act or the Indian Penal Code.
Malik faced protests by Shiv Sena activists at the airport.
'I did not invite Hafiz Saeed'
Malik, who arrived by a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from Islamabad, faced a volley of questions by newsmen for sharing dais with Saeed, wanted by India in connection with 2008 Mumbai attack.
The separatists leader said he had not invited Saeed, the 26/11 mastermind, at the rally called in Islamabad to protest hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru last month.
'What's the crime I have committed?'
"What's the crime I have committed? I neither invited him nor was I organising the protest rally. I was an invitee myself," said Malik, who was accompanied by S A R Gilani. Gilani was acquitted in the Parliament attack case.
The JKLF leader said the Government was free to act and withdraw his passport, which was due to expire on March 19.
Malik met Saeed in 2006 too
"I wonder why am I being targetted now. I had met Saeed in 2006," he said.
As he was speaking to reporters, a group of Shiv Sanik activists tried to hit him but the attempt was foiled by the police personnel who had anticipated trouble upon his arrival.
Asked what could be his stand in case he was questioned or detained by police, Malik shot back "let me rot in jail" and repeated JKLF's stand on Kashmir issue.
Ahead of Malik, moderate Hurriyat Conference group led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq had also visited Pakistan where they had met Saeed. Mirwaiz later complained that his passport was not cleared for renewal in time last month that would have facilitated his visit to Egypt for a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).
Malik, a moderate Hurriyat leader, was on a hunger strike in Islamabad last month to protest against the execution of Afzal Guru, where Hafiz Saeed also joined him on the stage.
According to certain media reports, the government is now considering to seize Malik's passport on grounds of national security. A probe would also be conducted into Malik's visit to Pakistan and he will be questioned by the security agencies in India.