Mehbooba Mufti only mainstream political leader under detention in J&K

PDP chief and ex-ally of BJP held at her residence in Srinagar for almost a year now

July 29, 2020 08:13 pm | Updated 09:30 pm IST - New Delhi

Mehbooba Mufti.

Mehbooba Mufti.

Former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is the only mainstream political leader who continues to be under detention, after the special status of J&K under Article 370 of the Constitution was revoked and the State was downgraded to a Union Territory almost a year ago.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief and a former ally of the BJP has been detained at her residence in Srinagar.

Also read | Article 370 move has left no space for mainstream leaders: Omar Abdullah

There are a few politicians such as PDP’s Waheed Para, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) chief Shah Faesal and Congress leader Saifuddin Soz who are under “house arrest”.

As of now, there are 200 people from J&K who are still detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA), with some held in jails outside the Union Territory.

Preventive custody

On March 11, Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy informed the Rajya Sabha that the J&K authorities had taken 7,357 persons into preventive custody since August 5, 2019 when the special status was revoked.

According to government data, 37 politicians were lodged at the MLA Hostel in Srinagar, which was declared a subsidiary jail, since August 5 last year.

The first among the political detainees to be released, on September 19, 2019, was National Conference leader Syed Mohammad Akhoon.

Editorial | Prolonged injustice: On Mehbooba Mufti’s detention

Noor Mohd. Sheikh (PDP), Imran Raza Ansari (People’s Conference) and Raja Muzaffar (JKPM) were released on October 10 .

NC leader Hilal Akbar Lone was the last to be released from the MLA hostel on June 18.

A senior official said the political prisoners were released phase-wise and the steps were taken to avoid any kind of violence in the aftermath of the Parliament’s decision.

“Not a single civilian was killed in protests or any other kind of violent incidents. People were detained and subsequently released,” said the official.

Incidents of stone throwing

The official said from January to June, 2019, 604 incidents of stone throwing were reported in J&K but only 211 such incidents were reported during the same period this year.

National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah , both former Chief Ministers, were released on March 13 and March 24 respectively.

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