National Conference president Farooq Abdullah has demanded the unconditional release of those detained or arrested since the withdrawal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August, PTI reported, quoting his party. A National Conference delegation had met Abdullah on Sunday for the first time since he was detained at his home in Srinagar.
Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah are among several political leaders who were put under detention or house arrest since the state lost its special constitutional status. Farooq Abdullah has been charged under the “public order” section of the Public Safety Act, which allows authorities to detain a person for six months without trial.
“It was made very clear to the visiting party delegation by the incarcerated leaders that no political process can take place until and unless certain actions are undertaken by the government of India straightaway,” a National Conference spokesperson said. Those arrested or detained on “false grounds” should be released, the spokesperson said.
The leaders demanded the release of all students and children who have been arrested or detained in various jails or police stations. They said an attempt was being made to underplay the prevailing situation in the state by “suggesting that only violence would be indicative of public resentment”.
“People have rejected the abridgement of their rights following the unilateral abrogation of Article 370,” the spokesperson said, according to The Telegraph. “It is indeed high time for the government of India to restore the dignity of the people by undoing the steps that were taken on August 5 and 6.”
The spokesperson added that the party would not be able to overlook and stay indifferent to the public sentiment.
According to some estimates, almost 400 politicians in the state were detained following the Centre’s crackdown. Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal were also taken into custody or put under house arrest. Mufti’s party deferred a meeting with its detained party chief on Sunday, but no reason was cited for it.
The Block Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held on October 24, and votes will be counted the same day. National Conference leaders have said that they would not be able to participate in the polls if the detentions continued.
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