Five Kashmiri political leaders released after four months of detention

The leaders released belong to the National Conference, the PDP and the Congress, and were kept under preventive detention, officials said

Updated - December 30, 2019 06:51 pm IST

Published - December 30, 2019 05:42 pm IST - Srinagar

An soldier patrols as it snows outside the Jamia Masjid mosque in Srinagar on December 20, 2019.

An soldier patrols as it snows outside the Jamia Masjid mosque in Srinagar on December 20, 2019.

The J&K administration started a phased release of detained mainstream leaders on Monday. Five politicians and former legislators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Peoples Conference (PC) and the National Conference (NC) were released after five months of detention.

According to an official, the NC’s Ishfaq Jabbar, a former legislator from Ganderbal, Ghulam Nabi Bhat,  PDP’s Bashir Mir from Kangan and Zahoor Mir from Pampore, also a former minister; and Peoples Conference's Yasir Reshi, also a former legislator, were released on in the afternoon.

They are among the over 270 political leaders who were been detained during the clampdown launched on mainstream regional parties on August 5, the day the Centre revoked J&K’s special status. The politicians were initially held in the Centaur Hotel in Srinagar and later shifted to the MLAs Hostel — a former legislators’ residence-turned-sub-jail — in Srinagar.

Top official sources said more political leaders are likely to be released in the first fortnight of the new year “as Kashmir has by far remained peaceful”.

An official said around 27 political detainees, including senior NC leader Ali Muhammad Sagar, PDP’s Naeem Akhtar, PC chief Sajad Lone and J&K Peoples Movement president Shah Faesal, continue to remain behind bars, under Section 107, an apparent threat to peace and public tranquillity.

However, NC president Dr. Farooq Abdullah and vice-president Omar Abdullah, and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti remain in detention in separate sub jails in the city.

Monday’s release of politicians comes more than a month after the November 25 release of two mainstream regional leaders.

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