Opposition demands detained J&K leaders' immediate release

Opposition demands detained J&K leaders' immediate release
L to R: Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

New Delhi: The Opposition on Monday demanded the immediate release of all political detainees in Jammu and Kashmir, especially three former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

"There are growing assaults on democratic norms, fundamental rights and civic liberties of citizens," a joint statement by Opposition leaders said. "As a result, dissent is not only being stifled, but the avenues of raising critical voices are also being systematically muted."

Nothing exemplifies this more starkly than the continuing detention on "flimsiest of grounds" of three former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers for over seven months.

"There is nothing in the past records of these three leaders to lend credence to the Modi government's false and self-serving claim that they pose a threat to 'public safety' in J&K or that they have endangered national interests with their activities," they added.

More than a thousand people, including politicians, separatists, activists and lawyers, were detained after the August 5 decision of the Central government to abrogate the special status. Over 250 were sent to the jails outside Jammu and Kashmir. Most were detained under different sections of the criminal procedure code.

Former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was in November shifted from a guest house in Chashme Shahi to a government accommodation on MA Road, while another former CM, Farooq Abdullah, who was detained under the stringent Public Safety Act, continues to remain under detention at his own house since August 5.

Farooq Abdullah's son and former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah continue to be in detention at the Hari Niwas state guest house here.

(With inputs from agencies)

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