The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday searched Srinagar’s MLA hostel that held political detainees, and said they had recovered 11 mobile phones, The Indian Express reported. Mainstream politicians have been detained since the Centre on August 5 rescinded the region’s special constitutional status and split it into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The searches were carried out around 4 pm, two hours after the families of the 32 detained politicians came to visit them. Earlier on Saturday, those detained held a joint protest on the premises of the hostel against alleged harassment of their family members after the two-year-old son of National Conference leader Tanvir Sadiq was “nearly strip searched”.
The incident came to light after former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti, who is handling her mother’s Twitter account, posted a series of tweets about the alleged harassment. However, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Muneer Khan has denied the charges. “Whatever she [Mufti] is saying…it is wrong,” he said. “The MLA hostel is a notified subsidiary jail and as part of anti-sabotage check drill…we have recovered 11 cellphones that were smuggled [in] illegally. Investigation will be conducted.”
The senior police officer said that the detained politicians had earlier demanded that their family should not frisked, adding that they could not allow anyone to “go unfrisked” as there was no way of knowing what was going into the quarters.
However, the family members of the detainees claimed they were being humiliated during the visits. Peoples Democratic Party leader Ashraf Mir’s wife said police officials asked her to remove her socks to “humiliate her”, The Hindu reported.
“Seems like manhandling detainees wasn’t enough Jammu and Kashmir police on additional director general of police’s orders has raided MLA hostel, Srinagar today and subjected detainees to humiliating frisking and checking,” Iltija Mufti tweeted. “One assumes, certain Jammu and Kashmir police officers drunk on newfound power are doing this to settle political scores.” Mufti alleged that the detainees were “being treated worse than hardened criminals”.
Mehr Imran, the wife of Srinagar Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran also claimed the security forces were rude and families were being unnecessarily harassed.
Meanwhile, Iltija Mufti tagged the Twitter handles of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Prime Minister’s Office. “Heard from reliable sources that SKICC [Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre] detainees were to be shifted to a decent accommodation but certain officers at the top played spoil sport in the end,” she tweeted. “Wondering if PMO India and HMO India are in the loop about their vicious and vindictive behaviour.”
The former chief minister’s daughter also alleged that the additional DGP had recently helped with the released of a former MLA and said this was done to set up a new political front. Iltija Mufti said the condition to secure the release of those detained depended on their willingness to join a new political front in Jammu and Kashmir. “Since when has it become normal for an officer to interfere and orchestrate in political matters of the state?”