The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday extended by three months the detention of former CM Mehbooba Mufti under the Public Safety Act (PSA). Mufti has spent nine months in confinement, first at a government guesthouse and then at her residence, since the August 5 clampdown on J&K’s political leadership following the revocation of its special status.
The previous order for her detention expired Tuesday.
The detention of NC’s Ali Mohammad Sagar and PDP leader Sartaj Madani, both charged under PSA, has also been extended by three months. They too have spent nine months in detention.
The order for Mufti’s detention cites “reports received from field agencies and their consideration indicates the requirement of continuation of detention”. Mufti was first placed under preventive detention and in February, she was charged under the PSA with former CMs Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah. Both Omar and Farooq were released in March.
Criminalizing a democratically elected leader for standing against erosion of constitutional rights of Kashmiris, @MehboobaMufti had only furthered India’s democracy in J&K, and that’s a crime in #BJP‘s own constitution.
— J&K PDP (@jkpdp) May 5, 2020
With the condition of her detention being to “prevent her from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”, the administration can effectively hold her in detention for a year.
In a tweet from Mufti’s Twitter handle, her daughter Iltija said, “Stifling voices of reason has become the norm for the current dispensation esp post illegal scrapping of Article 370. Therefore, extension of my mother’s detention doesn’t surprise me. Wishful thinking to assume that by smothering any debate on Article 370, the issue will vanish.”
Reacting sharply, Omar tweeted, “Unbelievably cruel & retrograde decision to extend @MehboobaMufti’s detention. Nothing she has done or said in any way justifies the way the Indian state has treated her & the others detained.”
Hitting out at the Centre, he said, “For a government that is making tall claims about normality in J&K the last few days coupled with the extension of Ms Mufti’s detention is proof enough that Modi ji has single handedly pushed J&K back decades.”
The NC said in a statement that the extension of PSA detention of party leader Ali Muhammad Sagar is “distressing”. PDP leader Naeem Akhtar, People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone and former bureaucrat Shah Faesal are among those who continue to be in detention.