Mehbooba Mufti released, vows to take back what Delhi snatched
The Chief Minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and chief of Peoples' Democratic Party, Mehbooba Mufti, was released from detention late last night, more than a year after the abrogation of Article 370. Mufti was among the leaders taken into custody ahead of the historic move last August. After her freedom returned, Mufti vowed to "take back what Delhi has snatched."
Before Mufti, Abdullahs were given their freedom back
Mufti, whose party was in alliance with BJP in J&K until June 2018, was released months after her political adversaries — Omar Abdullah and his father Farooq of the National Conference — were released. She was charged under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which lets the state detain anyone without a trial for several months. The detention under PSA was dropped, leading to her release.
Why were mainstream leaders of J&K detained?
Last August, just as the Centre went ahead with the Kashmir move, it detained senior leaders, citing law and order problems. Article 370 bestowed a special status to J&K and the Centre, led by BJP, claimed the politicians might fan violence with their provocative speeches. Kashmir also slipped into darkness, with all modes of communication being suspended. Subsequently, pleas were filed in Supreme Court.
Mufti's daughter approached SC against her detention
While Mufti was detained, her daughter Iltija held the fort for her, slamming Centre for splitting J&K into two UTs. She also claimed Delhi was disinclined to take note of Kashmiris' woes. She approached the apex court challenging the "illegal detention." Notably, the ex-CM was released just two days before SC was to take up her case, on October 15.
How long can she be detained, SC had asked earlier
On September 29, a top court bench, headed by Justice SK Kaul asked the J&K administration how long could Mufti be kept in custody. "What is the proposal of Jammu and Kashmir administration on her detention," the bench said. Notably, in July, Mufti's detention was extended for another three months. Justice Kaul commented that the maximum period of her detention has been exceeded.
Manoj Sinha's visit to Delhi linked to Mufti's release
The J&K administration had prepared a reply to be submitted in the top court, but decided that releasing Mufti would be more appropriate, reports TOI. Her release was also tied with the visit of J&K Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha to Delhi in late-September. Sinha discussed Mufti's detention with Centre and the "overall opinion favored her release," sources told the daily.
Sense of shame drove government's decision, claimed Iltija Mufti
Separately, Iltija said the Centre must have felt a sense of shame, hence, decided to release her mother. "I was not really expecting this sudden decision. I think after I went to the court with a fresh petition the government might have felt a sense of shame and embarrassment and released her," she was quoted by Outlook. She now wants others to be released.
Iltija is glad Mufti can take over her responsibilities
"You have to understand that after August 5, I was not only speaking about my mother but also about the ground situation here as there was no one talking about it. And that is why I am glad that she can take over her responsibilities," she said.
Can't forget the robbery and humiliation: Mufti
Quite expectedly, after her release, Mufti hit out at the Centre and aimed to drum support for herself. In an audio clip released on Twitter, Mufti reminded that she was detained for over one year. She said people of J&K can't forget the "robbery and humiliation" of August 5, 2019, and demanded the release of all prisoners, lodged inside and outside the UT.
What New Delhi did was illegal: Mufti on Article 370
Mufti said now people have to reiterate and take back what "New Delhi snatched from us illegally, undemocratically and unconstitutionally." Along with this, people shouldn't lose sight of the resolution of the Kashmir issue either, she said, adding that many lost their lives for it. Warning that the path won't be easy, Mufti said courage and determination will help them.
Here's the message to her people
After being released from fourteen long months of illegal detention, a small message for my people. pic.twitter.com/gIfrf82Thw— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) October 13, 2020
Omar, Chidambaram congratulated Mufti; slammed Centre
Leaders from the opposition welcomed Mufti's release. Omar tweeted, "Her continued detention was a travesty & was against the basic tenets of democracy. Welcome out Mehbooba. (sic)" Former Finance Minister and Congress veteran P Chidambaram wrote, "Happy that Ms Mehbooba Mufti has been finally released after 14 months of unjustified detention, (sic)" as he called on mainstream J&K parties to fight the Centre's tyranny.