Asia Kashmir World

Wed 14 October 2020:

Mufti was released on Tuesday evening, over 14 months after she was detained following the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, 2019. Mufti, 61, is the last of Jammu and Kashmir’s mainstream political leaders to have been set free after the constitutional changes split the region into two Union territories.

“As Ms Mufti’s illegal detention finally comes to an end, I’d like to thank everybody who supported me in these tough times. I owe a debt of gratitude to you all,” her daughter wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.


Just hours after her release, Mufti , in an audio message, said that the people will have to continue struggling for the resolution of Kashmir issue and whatever was snatched by Delhi on August 5, 2019 will have to be taken back.

“I have become free today after more than a year. During this time the black decision of August 5, 2019, black day, would always pain my heart and soul. And I realise that the people of J&K would have the same feeling. Nobody among us can forget the day’s robbery and humiliation,” she said in the 1 minute 23 second audio message.

“Now we all will have to reiterate that whatever Delhi Darbar, unconstitutionally and undemocratically, snatched away from us will have to be taken back,” she said.

Mufti’s release comes after her daughter Iltija Mufti filed a habeas corpus petition at the Supreme Court challenging her mother’s detention under the PSA.

The case is scheduled to come up for a hearing on Thursday.

“But a lot of young people are still languishing in jail. [The detention was a] complete travesty of justice [and] other families are still suffering,” she added.

Detention without trial

Critics accuse the government of using the PSA – a law that allows detention without trial for up to two years – to crack down on dissidents, including activists who rallied against the stripping of the Muslim-majority region of its autonomy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said at the time that ending Kashmir’s special status was necessary for closer integration of the Muslim majority territory into the rest of India.

The government imposed a communication blackout with mobile phones, internet links and landlines down and detained scores of people including Mufti to prevent large-scale protests from erupting over the loss of autonomy for Indian-administered Kashmir.

Arrested alongside Mufti was former chief minister of the state Omar Abdullah as well as Ali Mohammad Sagar and Sartaj Madni, two regional party leaders.

Congratulatory messages

Congress leader Salman Anees Soz wrote that the episode of tyranny was over. “This episode of tyranny is over. The goal was to intimidate Kashmiri mainstream leaders. But, as all of India is discovering, Kashmir is a laboratory where the limits of authoritarianism are being tested.I am happy for @MehboobaMufti and family though. All the best!,” he said.

On Tuesday, National Conference vice-president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah also welcomed her release. “I’m pleased to hear that @MehboobaMufti Sahiba has been released after more than a year in detention. Her continued detention was a travesty & was against the basic tenets of democracy. Welcome out Mehbooba,” he said.

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