Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin on Monday said he was “deeply troubled” to see former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s photograph showing him sporting a grey beard. Scroll.in was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the photograph.
Stalin also voiced concern about two other former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti. “Equally concerned about Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and other Kashmiri leaders who are incarcerated without trial or due process,” the DMK president tweeted. “Union government must immediately release all political prisoners and restore normalcy in Valley.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also expressed shock and sadness about Abdullah’s photograph on January 25.
On August 5, the Union government had revoked the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two Union Territories. A number of political leaders in the erstwhile state, including the three former chief ministers, have been detained since then.
Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah’s detention under the Public Safety Act was extended by three months on December 15. At the moment, he is confined to his Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar. Omar Abdullah is at Hari Niwas, while Mehbooba Mufti was initially lodged at Cheshmashahi hut, but was later shifted to a government accommodation.
The Narendra Modi-led government has faced global pressure to restore normalcy in the Valley. Police officials in Kashmir said the limited internet access would be restored after Republic Day celebrations. On the midnight of January 1, SMS services were restored. The Ladakh administration had restored 4G mobile internet connectivity in Kargil on December 27, after a gap of 145 days. Postpaid mobile phone services had been restored across all networks in the Kashmir Valley on October 14.