The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday refused to provide any timeline for the release of political detainees in Jammu and Kashmir, IANS reported.

Starting on August 4, the day before the region lost its special constitutional status, 5,161 people, including stone pelters and politicians, were taken into preventive custody “to prevent commission of offences involving breach of peace, activities prejudicial to the security of the state and maintenance of public order”, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy told the Rajya Sabha. Of them, 609 are still in preventive detention, India Today quoted the minister as saying.

The minister said the detentions were carried out to prevent untoward incidents and maintain peace. “Since these detentions have been made under statutory provisions by the concerned magistrates based on their satisfaction in each case, it is not possible for the government to give any timelines for their release,” he added.

Three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti – are among those held by authorities. The Public Safety Act was invoked against Farooq Abdullah on September 17, and he remains confined to his home. Omar Abdullah and Mufti are held in different parts of Srinagar.

The government accused separatist groups and activists part of the Hurriyat Conference of orchestrating stone-pelting attacks in the region, IANS reported. The National Investigation Agency has filed chargesheets against 18 people in terror-funding cases.

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