For Mehbooba Mufti’s release, a poke at Centre from Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi
On Friday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration extended Mufti’s detention even as it released Peoples Conference chief Sajad Gani Lone in Srinagar, a week ahead of the one-year anniversary of the revocation of the troubled region’s special status and its bifurcation.Updated: Aug 02, 2020 17:44 IST
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka on Sunday demanded the release of Jammu and Kashmir’s former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, two days after the government extended her detention under public safety act (PSA) by another three months.
“India’s democracy is damaged when GoI illegally detains political leaders. It’s high time Mehbooba Mufti is released,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.
As if on cue, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi also accused the central government of shying away from dialogue and of being undemocratic by keeping the leaders under detention.
“The BJP government is making the detention of leaders its weapon to shy away from dialogue, the strongest style of democracy. Keeping under house arrest is undemocratic and unconstitutional. She should be released,” she said.
On Friday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration extended Mufti’s detention even as it released Peoples Conference chief Sajad Gani Lone in Srinagar, a week ahead of the one-year anniversary of the revocation of the troubled region’s special status and its bifurcation.
Mufti, who has been held under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), is among 20-odd political leaders in the Valley who continue to remain under detention following parliament’s revocation of J&K’s special status on August 5 last year.
Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar, the two former chief ministers, were released on March 13 and March 24, respectively.
Earlier, another congress leader P Chidambaram had asked for a collective campaign for the immediate release of Mufti, questioning how she was a threat to public safety.
“The extension of the detention of Ms Mehbooba Mufti under PSA is an abuse of law and an assault on the Constitutional rights guaranteed to every citizen,” he said in a series of tweets.
“Why should she undertake not to speak against the abrogation of Art 370? Is it not part of the right to free speech? I am one of the counsels appearing in a case in the SC challenging the abrogation of Art 370. If I speak against Art 370 — as I must — is that a threat to public safety?” he said.
Mufti’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ran a coalition government in the undivided state with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) until the alliance collapsed in June 2018 that prompted the imposition of Governor’s Rule.
Under the PSA, a person can be kept under detention for up to two years without any trial in the court.
The former CM was arrested on August 5 from her official residence and lodged at Chesmashahi huts. She was moved to a government building close to the MLA hostel, where other detainees were held, in November. In April, Mufti was shifted to her official residence at Fairview on Gupkar Road.
The PDP condemned the extension of Mufti’s detention. ‘It’s high time the BJP realises that we as Kashmiris refuse to be trivialised,” the party said.
Nearly all of Kashmir’s mainstream political leaders were detained hours before the central government nullified Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to the region, and bifurcated the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature and Ladakh without one.