Ground Report | Srinagar
The term of detention against former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti under the stringent Public Safety Act extended for three months on Tuesday.
Officials said that similarly the custody of former minister and senior National Conference leader Ali Mohammad Sagar and senior PDP leader and relative of Mufti Sartaj Madni has also been extended for three months.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah described the Mufti’s detention as an incredibly brutal and backward decision.
Omar tweeted, ‘Mehbooba Mufti’s decision to increase her detention is incredibly cruel and backwards. The Mufti has not done or said anything that can justify this behavior by the Government of India with him and others taken into custody. ‘
Omar said, “Increasing Ms. Mufti’s detention by the government, which has long claimed that the situation is normal in Jammu and Kashmir, is a proof that Modi ji has pushed Jammu and Kashmir back decades.”
Hours before the expiry of the period of detention under PSA, the Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir administration issued a brief order relating to extension of custody of Mufti.
“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,” Iltija, Mehbooba’s daughter of Mufti, tweeted from her mother’s official handle.
Mehbooba Mufti was initially detained on August 5, 2019, when the Centre abrogated special status under article 370 and 35A of the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
Having spent over eight months in detention at two government facilities that were designated as sub-jails, Mufti was shifted to her home on April 7 as a partial relief to her. Mufti heads the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which was in power in Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with the BJP till June 2018.
Initially, she was taken into preventive custody. Later on February 5, 2020, she was slapped with the PSA along with Omar Abdullah, who was released in March. Farooq Abdullah had been released in April. Earlier, Mufti was lodged in a government guesthouse in Chashma Shahi and a bungalow on Maulana Azad Road near Lal Chowk.
Daughter of Mehbooba, Iltija has moved a habeas corpus petition before the Supreme Court in February challenging her mother’s detention. A three-judge bench had issued a notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration seeking its response on the plea and posted the matter for a hearing on March 18. However, the petition was not taken up for hearing due to the coronavirus outbreak. Habeas corpus is a writ seeking production of a person supposed to be in illegal detention before a court.