Updated: May 11, 2021 5:17:53 am
Senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar was on Monday moved to his residence from detention at Srinagar’s MLA hostel, designated a subsidiary jail, citing “health issues” and the Supreme Court’s directions related to Covid-19.
Akhtar, released into house detention after nearly five months, has been held under provisions of preventive detention since December 2020, just before the announcement of results for the District Development Council elections held in J&K.
Executive Magistrate, Srinagar, approved Akhtar’s application to be moved home “keeping in view the recent directions of the Apex Court of India, the present situation of Covid-19 and health issues stated by the detainee.”
PDP’s Political Affairs Committee member Sartaj Madani remains detained at the MLA hostel. Both leaders had spent over 10 months in detention following the revocation of Article 370 in August 2019.
Calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners, the PDP welcomed Akhtar’s “release from illegal detention”. The two leaders were “arbitrarily picked up on frivolous grounds and put in jail… Despite their old age and numerous underlying medical issues they were kept in detention even during the raging pandemic depicting the vindictiveness of the administration,” PDP general secretary Ghulam Nabi Hanjura said.
The party has also called for the release of its youth wing president Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, lodged in Central Jail, Srinagar terming the charges against him “mendacious and politically motivated”.
Taking to Twitter after he was allowed home, Akhatar’s daughter Shehryar Khanum tweeted, “My father has been shifted into home detention. It is a big relief. Thank you to everyone who looked out for us through this 5 month ordeal. I sincerely pray people in similar circumstances find some relief too and get to be with their families!”
Meanwhile, JK Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari also welcomed Akhtar’s release while reiterating that the demand “for the release of other colleagues, who have been unjustly detained, remains persistent.”
People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone tweeted, “So happy to hear about the release of @shangpal from MLA hostel. He has health issues and shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Hope Madanai Sahib is released as well.”
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