Mehbooba Mufti’s PSA detention extended by 3 months; Lone freed

TNN Bureau. Updated: 8/1/2020 10:45:02 AM Front Page

SRINAGAR: Amidst the growing clamor for her release, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday extended the detention of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti by three months under the Public Safety Act, stating that her release may result in disruption of public order.
The extension for former chief minister, who is also the only mainstream leader under detention, came on a day when Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC) chairman Sajad Gani Lone was released from nearly a year-long detention.
Mehbooba was among hundreds of people who were taken into preventive custody hours ahead of the Centre revoking special status of the Jammu and Kashmir and breaking the state into two union territories on August 5 last year.
The current detention order of the former chief minister was expiring on August 5 this year.
According to an order issued by the Home Department, Mufti will continue to remain under detention for another three months at her official residence at Fairview Bungalow, which has been declared a subsidiary jail.
"The law enforcing agencies have recommended further extension in the period of detention and on examination, the same is considered to be necessary," reads an order issued by Principal Secretary Shaleen Kabra.
“The detention of Mufti has been extended to prevent her from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order,” it said.
Reacting to the extension of Mehbooba's detention, her daughter Iltija Mufti said a petition challenging her detention was pending before the Supreme Court since February.
"I'd like to confirm media reports that Ms Mufti's PSA has been extended until November 2020. The petition challenging her unlawful detention has been pending in SC since 26th February. Where does one seek justice?" she tweeted from her mother's handle.
Meanwhile, a PDP spokesman said they will not be cowed down into submission and such "vindictive measures" will not deter the party from pursuing its core agenda.
He termed the extension of Mehbooba's detention a highly "undemocratic, unconstitutional and inhuman approach" of the government.
"Such measures are aimed to intimidate. They will have far-reaching consequences and are bound to only increase the level of alienation and frustration among the people who had been plundered of their identity last year on August 5,"he added.
The spokesman found it "bizarre" that the government is hell-bent to hound the PDP president through such illegal, unethical and undemocratic measures , while a petition against her detention is pending in the SC for the past six months.
No quantum of pressure and intimidation can push us into submission and to give up on our resolve to fight for the honour and dignity of the people of J&K, he said.
It is ironic, he said, that the BJP still believes in the efficacy of these methods and is trying to repeat the old mistakes which will be meaningless and will prove counterproductive.
Most of the other mainstream politicians, including Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, have been released from custody. On Friday, the government also released Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone, after almost a year-long detention.
Lone was released days ahead of the first anniversary of the Centre's move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution in August last year, the officials said.
Lone also confirmed his release by taking to Twitter.
"Finally five days short of a year I have been officially informed that I am a free man. So much has changed. So have I. Jail was not a new experience. Earlier ones were harsh with usual doses of physical torture. But this was psychologically draining. Much to share hopefully soon," he said in a tweet.
The JKPC chairman was moved to his residence here in February this year and placed under house arrest, the officials said.
They said he was taken into custody on August 5 last year when the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divided the erstwhile state into two union territories.
Lone, a former cabinet minister in the PDP-BJP coalition, was kept at makeshift jail at Centaur hotel on the banks of the famous Dal Lake along with other leaders from mainstream parties before they all were moved to MLA hostel here. However, in February, Lone and PDP leader Waheed Parra were moved to their residences and were kept under house arrest.
Meanwhile, former Chief Minister and National Conference vice-President Omar Abdullah welcomed release of Lone.
“Good to hear that Sajad Lone has been released from illegal house arrest. I hope others under similar illegal detention will also be released without delay,” Omar tweeted.
Peoples Democratic Party leader and former Minister Naeem Akther also welcomed release of Lone
“Mubarak! This was a jail term in which the trial begins only after release. Great pleasure to have remained together for a long time, enough to know each other better and appreciate that no two Kashmiris have no reason to fight each other. For there are no prizes to win,” he tweeted.

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