Hours after J&K Bar’s election notice, ad hoc president Nazir Ronga ‘arrested without warrant’ in Srinagar

The 3,000-member strong Bar, which the administration accused of being “pro-secessionist” in the past, sought nominations to fill different posts through an internal election

Updated - July 11, 2024 11:24 pm IST

Published - July 11, 2024 07:33 pm IST - SRINAGAR

Lawyer Umair Ronga, son Nazir Ronga, said the J&K police arrived at their home at 1:10 a.m. “without any arrest warrant” and claimed “Uper se order hai (It’s an order from the top)“. Photo: X/@umairronga

Lawyer Umair Ronga, son Nazir Ronga, said the J&K police arrived at their home at 1:10 a.m. “without any arrest warrant” and claimed “Uper se order hai (It’s an order from the top)“. Photo: X/@umairronga

The ad hoc chairman of the J&K High Court Bar Association (JKHCBA), Kashmir, Nazir Ahmad Ronga, was arrested by the Lieutenant Governor’s administration in Srinagar just hours after the Bar issued a notification related to the internal election. 

Lawyer Umair Ronga, son of advocate Ronga, said the J&K police arrived at their home at 1:10 a.m. “without any arrest warrant” and claimed “Uper se order hai (It’s an order from the top)“. 

“We are left in a state of shock and profound distress. We can only hope this is not another instance of the PSA being misused to intimidate the members of the JKHCBA,” Mr. Umair Ronga’s said.

The police have not commented on the arrest or accusations of being booked under the harsh Public Safety Act (PSA), a local law that deals with preventive detention without a trial up to two years. 

The 3,000-member strong Bar, which the administration accused of being “pro-secessionist” in the past and “a non-registered body now”, on July 10 sought nominations from lawyers to fill different posts through an internal election. The J&K administration disallowed the Bar elections in the past five years. It recently invoked Section 144 and barred any elections, citing fears of the law-and-order issue.  

The latest crackdown comes in spite of the recent amendment made to the Bar’s erstwhile constitution, dropping a paragraph that stated the Bar “will work towards a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute”.

Meanwhile, in a fresh notification on Thursday, a Bar spokesman said, “On turn of events the JKHCBA has decided to suspend notification (issued on July 10).”  

Ronga’s detention condemned 

Former J&K Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti reacted sharply to Mr. Ronga’s arrest.

“The cycle of violence continues unabated in J&K that too in areas which rarely witnessed militancy. Everyday soldiers are being martyred. GOI (Government of India) hasn’t only failed to end militancy but is venting its frustration by launching a vicious crackdown on helpless Kashmiris. Nazir Ronga is the latest victim of its oppressive actions,” Ms. Mufti said.

Hurriyat chairman and Valley’s chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also “strongly denounced” the arrest. “His arrest has caused great anguish and concern. He worked for a peaceful resolution of the conflict through engagement and dialogue. As a lawyer, he served people with consideration and empathy. Besides, Ronga sahab is an elderly person and not keeping well . It’s unfortunate that the policy of repression and instilling fear among people continues to be pursued by those in power,” Mr. Farooq said, in a statement.

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