Over 120 students, faculty and alumni members of the Harvard University on Thursday urged the Indian government to release Kashmiri bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal and other local leaders. “We are concerned about the latest restrictions and arrests of many local leaders, including a Harvard student and politician, Shah Faesal,” read the statement. “We urge the government to release Shah Faesal and other local leaders.”
Faesal, who was detained at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and sent back to Kashmir on Wednesday, was reportedly taken to a makeshift detention centre at the Centaur Hotel in Srinagar on Thursday. Faesal was detained under the Public Safety Act, officials said.
Apart from Faesal, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were put under house arrest a day before the central government announced that it was scrapping Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and splitting the state into two Union Territories. Last week, Jammu and Kashmir authorities airlifted a batch of 20 “potential troublemakers” from Srinagar to Agra as a preventive measure, according to PTI.
The Harvard University members requested the government to “take credible action keeping in mind the democratic rights of people”. They called for “democratic and peaceful means to ensure stability in the state of Jammu & Kashmir”.
The Centre imposed restrictions on public movement and gatherings in the state on August 5 and cut off mobile networks hours before rescinding the state’s special status. The state has witnessed sporadic protests since then, especially in Kashmir. The restrictions were partially lifted in Jammu but remain in place in the Valley.