June 8, 2020 4:35:23 am
Four days after bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal and two senior PDP members were released following revocation of their detention under the PSA, PDP spokesperson Suhail Bukhari raised the issue of other leaders of his party still being held in detention.
“We have been asking all along for unconditional release of the political leadership across parties from illegal detention. While our president and former CM Mehbooba Mufti has completed 10 months in this illegal detention, leaders from other parties like Ali Mohammad Sagar also continue to be under arrest. Even those released from jails have been put in detention in their homes. This is undemocratic, illegal and unethical,” Bukhari, Mehbooba’s adviser, told The Indian Express.
Faesal and two PDP leaders—Peer Mansoor and Sartaj Madni—were released from detention on June 3. However, according to official sources, Faesal has been placed under house arrest alongside almost a dozen other political leaders.
While a majority of the political leadership of Jammu and Kashmir has been released since January—they were among several political leaders who were detained in the aftermath of the August 5 scrapping of J&K’s special status—there is a growing clamour for the release of the others, including PDP chief Mufti, senior National Conference leader Ali Mohammad Sagar, senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar and NC’s North Kashmir MP Akbar Lone’s son Hilal Lone. All of them are being held under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
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Former CM and NC vice-president Omar Abdullah, who was released from detention under PSA in March, has repeatedly called for release of all political leaders. He recently tweeted: “Disappointed that @MehboobaMufti, Sagar Sb & Hilal Lone continue to be detained. It’s high time they are set free as well. Not to mention the many others under informal ‘house arrest’ for the last 10 months. It’s time the rule of law is applied to all equally & these leaders are allowed to leave their homes without their ‘guards’ locking them inside without cause, justification or any detention order.”
Peoples Conference (PC) has also called for the immediate release of all political prisoners both within and outside J&K.
Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone, senior NC leader Abdul Rahim Rather, NC spokesperson Aga Syed Ruhullah and NC leaders Irfan Shah, Shafi Uri and Nasir Sogami, and PDP youth president Waheed-ur-Rehman Para are among those under house arrest since they were released from SKICC or Srinagar’s MLA Hostel.
Mehbooba’s daughter Iltija Javed, who runs the former CM’s Twitter account, tweeted: “…barring a few, most political leaders cutting across party lines continue being under house arrest. Their unlawful detention is an aberration of the law.” She added that the “ad hoc releases of detainees defies common sense”.
CPM central committee member M Y Tarigami said that prolonged detentions are a sign of “how things remain far from normal in Kashmir” despite New Delhi’s claims. He, too, called for release of political leaders.
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