The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress on Saturday alleged that the state administration was “deliberately downgrading” the security of the party’s leaders, PTI reported. The party alleged that some Bharatiya Janata Party leaders who had never held an official position had better security and vehicles than some former legislators and parliamentarians.

“The governor’s administration is pushing the opposition, especially senior Congress leaders, to the wall by further withdrawing and downgrading their security cover on pick and choose basis while extending and maintaining a much higher security apparatus, vehicles and accommodation to the BJP leaders of comparatively lesser political stature and standing,” the Congress said in a statement.

“It has been deliberately done to further immobilise them and keep them away from reaching out to the public,” it said, adding that these were “vindictive and discriminatory” tactics.

“While most of the top leaders in Kashmir are confined to their homes, those elsewhere are being forced to stay home by such discriminatory tactics,” the Congress said, adding that the accommodation of GA Mir, the president of the state Congress, was taken away in Srinagar.

“The forces inimical to peace, harmony and territorial integrity want the mainstream and nationalist forces to stay away from political and social activities,” the Congress said. “Downgrading of security will expose the opposition leaders to the designs of anti-national and anti-social forces besides hampering their political activity which is essential for the democratic atmosphere to defeat the designs of the enemy.”

India abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status on August 5. It also divided the state into two Union Territories by passing the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. Over a thousand people, including political leaders, separatists and activists, were detained after a security clampdown in August, ahead of the move to abrogate the special status. Earlier this month, the Jammu and Kashmir Police admitted to arresting 144 minors, including children as young as nine and 11, since August 5.

Several mainstream political leaders such as former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah, and Kashmiri bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal were taken into custody or put under house arrest. National Conference President Farooq Abdullah was booked under the “public order” section of the Public Safety Act, which allows one to be detained for six months without trial.

Last week, reports had said that the state administration was forcing detainees to sign a bond that forbids them from speaking against “the recent events” in the state to secure their release.