SRINAGAR – Jammu and Kashmir Administration Thursday released three more mainstream political leaders from their house arrest. However they were barred from interacting with the press.
The released politicians include Dr Mustafa Kamal of National Conference, Khalida Shah and Muzzafar Shah President and Vice President of Awamai National Conference respectively.
Though the trio is from two different political parties, but they belong to same family. While Mustafa is brother of Khalida, Muzzaffar is her son.
The three leaders, released yesterday are among the dozens of politicians and trade body leaders, who were taken into custody on 5th of August, following the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A and kept under house arrest or detained at various places in and outside of J&K.
Meanwhile Awami National Conference (ANC) leaders, Khalida Shah and Muzzaffar Shah were stopped from addressing a press conference, which they had organised at their residence, immediately after their release. There was a heavy deployment of police outside their residence on Maulana Azad Road and media was stopped from going towards their house situated behind erstwhile Needos Hotel.
Meanwhile two sitting NC parliament members, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Husnain Masoodi appeared on the scene and criticized the blocking of the press conference of Shahs by the administration.
Speaking to media, Mohammad Akbar Lone said that by disallowing the press conference, administration has contradicted its own statement about the release of the said leaders, who are still not free to carry on their political activities.
He said, “What kind of democracy is this, where no political activity is allowed, Government is choking space for everyone, be it a common man or a political worker”
“The actions of the government are totally against the democratic values”, he added.
Prior to these leaders, Administration on 10th of October released three leaders, after they signed a bond to stay away from any political activity that will incite violence, which include Shoaib Lone who had unsuccessfully contested last elections on Congress Ticket from Sangrama Constituency, besides Noor Mohammad Sheikh and Yawar Lone, who represented People’s Democratic Party in the last State Assembly, dissolved by the governor, prior to implementation President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir.
The release was first of its kind, where detainees were asked to sign a bond in return to their release, which they signed and gave an undertaking that they will not indulge into any political activity, opposing the decision of scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir by the Center.
Pertinently Advisor to Governor Farooq Ahmed Kahn on 5th October, while replying a question from media persons, had given an indication about the release of Kashmiri leaders one by one and in a phased manner.
Scoresof political leaders and workers, associated with separatist as well as mainstream camps, were taken into preventive detention, after the centre revoked Article 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution and bifurcated state into two union territories on 5th of August 2019.
Along with political leaders and workers, members of trade bodies and Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association were also taken into custody.
While separatist leadership was already facing a crackdown, three former chief ministers of state were also detained to prevent any possible resentment from them, against the Center’s decision to withdraw the special status of the state.
Among the three former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah was lodged in Hari Niwas, Mehbooba Mufti in Cheshma Shahi guest house, while Dr. Farooq Abdullah was kept under house arrest at his residence in Gupkar, with Public Safety Act (PSA) slapped against him.
Those who were detained in Centaur Hotel, which government declared Subsidiary Jail later include State Congress President Ghulam Ahmed Mir, NC leaders Ali Mohammad Sagar, Hilal Akbar Lone, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Bhat, Irfan Shah, Salman Sagar, Altaf Kaloo, Mubarak Gul, Ishfaq Jabbar Lone, Mohammad Syed Aakhoon, Ali Mohammad Dar, PDP leaders Sartaj Madani, Nizam-u- Din Bhat, Nayeem Akhtar, Wahid Parra, Bashir Ahmed Veeri, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Khurshid Alam, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat, Aijaz Ahmed Mir, People’s Conference leaders Sajjad Gani Lone, Imran Raza Ansari, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Moment leader Shah Faesal Srinagar Mayor Junaid Azam Mattoo and Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran and former MLA Hakim Mohammad Yasin.
While Congress state president Ghulam Ahmed Mir was released earlier, Ali Mohammad Sagar, senior leader and NC General Secretary was shifted to hospital on Wednesday.
Earlier Mohammad Syed Aakhoon of NC, Imran Raza Ansari of PC and Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran were also released on health grounds, on 27th September followed by shifting of Yasir Reshi former MLC was shifted to kidney hospital, after he complained about pain in his abdomen.
The process of releasing detainees began with release all the 57 leaders from Jammu on 1st of October, who were also detained and kept under house arrest, after the abrogation of special status to J&K on 1st 0ctober,
Among the released Jammu leaders were Davinder Singh Rana, Surjit Singh Salathia, Javed Rana and Sajjad Ahmed Kitcloo of National Conference, Raman Bhalla and Waqar Rasool of Congress and Harsh Dev Singh of Panthers party.
Sources told CNS that after the release of these three Kashmiri politicians on Thursday; few more detainees may also be released in near future, subject to the evaluation of the situation. (With inputs from CNS)
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