People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone and PDP youth wing president Waheed Parra were Wednesday shifted from the MLAs hostel to their residences, where they will continue to remain under house arrest. Both leaders were placed in detention in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
They were among several politicians, lawyers, businessmen, and activists in the Valley who were placed under detention after Centre revoked Article 370 and scrapped the special status to Jammu and Kashmir. After the release of Lone and Parra, 13 political leaders now remain detained at the MLA hostel in Srinagar which has been temporarily converted into a subsidiary jail.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration had on Tuesday released two leaders — former PDP MLA from Wachi in south Kashmir Aijaz Ahmad Mir and trade leader Shakeel Ahmed Qalandar, who is former president of the Federation Chamber of Industries, Kashmir. Since Sunday, a total of eight leaders have been released from preventive custody.
Sajad Lone, whose father Abdul Gani Lone was killed by militants in 2002, had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2014. He had called Modi his “elder brother” and after the Assembly polls, was made a minister in the PDP-BJP coalition government from the BJP’s quota. Lone was also instrumental in the conduct of panchayat and local body polls after the NC and PDP decided to boycott the civic polls last year.
Lone, however, strongly opposed New Delhi’s moves to tamper with J&K’s status. Days ahead of New Delhi’s move, he was part of the all-party meet in Srinagar that had called “any fiddling with J&K’s special status an aggression against the people of the state”.
Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah remain in detention. Farooq Abdullah is the only mainstream politician against whom the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) was slapped on September 17 for a period of three months, which was renewed on December 16 last year.
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