Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah’s sister and daughter and 11 other women agitators were released from Srinagar Central Jail on Wednesday evening, almost 30 hours after they were detained for protesting near the Lal Chowk area.
It was the first women’s protest in Srinagar against the Centre’s August 5 order to revoke special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, split the state into two Union Territories and repeal Article 35A, which gave the state government powers to define “state subjects” and grant them specific rights. Among those detained on Tuesday were Farooq Abdullah’s daughter Safiya Abdullah, his sister Suraiya Abdullah, and Hawa Bashir, the wife of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Justice Ahmed Khan. Activist Sushobha Barve and Muslim Jan Fazili, the media coordinator of Kashmir University, were also among those taken into custody.
The women were released around 6 pm after the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate granted them bail. They had to furnish a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and surety of Rs 40,000 each under Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code, reported PTI. They were made to sign a bond that prohibited them from making a statement, their counsel Altaf Khan told Hindustan Times. They also had to sign a mandatory bond assuring that they would “not commit breach of peace”.
“We enjoyed our time in jail,” one of the protesters told NDTV sarcastically. Safiya Abdullah, however, refused to speak.
On Tuesday, the protestors had initially tried to hold a demonstration at Pratap Park near Lal Chowk, but were denied permission, following which they gathered on the road outside the park. After police officials arrived, they allegedly tore the placards that the demonstrators were carrying. Female constables detained the protestors, who were taken away in police vehicles.
The group demanded the restoration of civil liberties and rights, the demilitarisation of rural and urban areas and the release of detainees. They also issued a six-point statement, titled “Statement by the women of Kashmir” in which they criticised the national media for its “false, oblique, misleading coverage of ground realities in Kashmir”.
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