NEW DELHI – No one in the government has ever called the three detained former chief ministers of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir “anti-national”, Home Minister Amit Shah has said, adding that a decision on their release will be taken by the administration of the union territory.
Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti had to be detained for “some time” after they made provocative statements, the home minister said on Thursday night while addressing an event organised by media outlet ABP News.
“Please see the statements made by them, like the entire country will be on fire if Article 370 was touched…In the backdrop of these statements, a professional decision was taken to keep them under detention for sometime,” Shah said at the news summit.
Many political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, including the three former chief ministers, were detained on August 5, the day the Centre announced abrogation of Article 370 provisions and bifurcation of the state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
While Farooq Abdullah has been booked under the stringent Public Safety Act and confined to his Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar, which has been declared a sub-jail, his son Omar Abdullah has been detained at Hari Niwas. PDP chief Mufti was lodged at Chesmashahi hut initially but later shifted to a government accommodation.
To a question pointing out that Abdullahs’ National Conference and Mufti’s PDP were alliance partners of the BJP at some point of time and the leaders were now being labelled “anti-national”, the home minister made it clear that neither he nor anyone from the government had called them so.
“As far as the decision to release them is concerned, this decision will be taken by the local administration and not me,” he said, adding that the administration will release them whenever it deems suitable.
Shah said the situation in the Kashmir Valley was under control and day-to-day life was going on smoothly.
“Not a single inch in Kashmir is under curfew today,” he added.
2 PDP Leaders Set Free
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday released two PDP leaders who were under detention since August 5 last year, when the Centre abrogated the provisions of Article 370 and divided the state into two union territories, officials said.
They said the police guard at the houses of PDP leaders — Ashraf Mir and Rafiq Mir — was lifted on Friday morning and they can now resume their daily activities.
Ashraf was shifted from the MLA hostel in the last week of November but continued to remain under preventive detention at his house.
Rafiq Mir was detained at his residence post the August 5 decision, the officials said.
He was among dozens of political detainees who were kept at Centaur hotel.
Thirty-four detainees were shifted to the MLA hostel from the hotel, located on the banks of Dal Lake, on November 18 as Srinagar reeled under harsh winter and the hotel lacked proper heating arrangement.
On December 30, the administration released five political leaders, belonging to the National Conference and the PDP, after authorities were satisfied that they would not be indulging in any agitation or give call for any strike after they are set free.
Those released include Ishfaq Jabbar (National Conference), Bashir Mir, Zahoor Mir and Yasir Reshi (PDP) and Ghulam Nabi Bhat (Independent).
In November last year, two political leaders — Dilawar Mir of the PDP and Ghulam Hassan Mir of the Democratic Party Nationalist — were released by the new Union Territory administration.
The National Conference had welcomed the decision of the administration and said such moves will help in bridging the gap between the government and the people.
Many political leaders were picked up from their residences on August 5, the day the Centre had withdrawn the special status given to J&K under Article 370 of the Constitution and divided the state into two union territories — Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
The two union territories came into existence on October 31 last year.
Three former chief ministers — Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — are also under detention. While senior Abdullah was slapped with the stringent Public Safety Act on September 17 and remains confined to his residence, Omar Abdullah and Mufti are under detention at different locations in the city.
Mufti was recently shifted to a government accommodation in the city from a tourist hut located at the foothills of Zaberwan range.
The PSA on senior Abdullah was reviewed by authorities on December 15 and it was agreed that he would continue to remain in detention for another 90 days.
Iltija Seeks Permission To Visit Grandfather’s Grave
Iltija Mufti, daughter of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, on Friday wrote a letter to the administration seeking permission to visit the grave of her maternal grandfather and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in south Kashmir on his fourth death anniversary on January 7.
Iltija, a Special Security Group protectee, has written to Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Munir Khan seeking permission to visit the grave of Sayeed, who died at AIIMS, Delhi, on January 7, 2016 after a brief illness.
In her letter, Iltija has said she and her family would like to visit the grave of her grandfather, a two-time chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, at Dara Shiku of Anantnag district in South Kashmir.
“Since the civil administration and police have stated on record repeatedly that the situation in Kashmir is normal, I don’t see why we should be denied permission to offer our tributes at his grave,” she said.
“It would be a crying shame if the administration or police denied us the right to even mourn and remember Mufti Saab on his fourth death anniversary.”
She also made a reference about Thursday’s incident when she had attempted to reach to Sayeed’s grave but was detained as she had not sought a permission for visiting Anantnag district.
Munir Khan had denied Iltija’s claim that she was detained. “The Anantnag district administration did not give clearance for her visit,” he had said.
“We also have to keep in mind that she is an SSG protectee who has to take police clearance before visiting anywhere,” Khan had added.
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