The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday released four Kashmiri political leaders from detention, ANI reported. They were detained at the MLA Hostel in Srinagar since the government abrogated the region’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 and divided it into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The four were identified as National Conference leaders Abdul Majeed Larmi, Ghulam Nabi Bhat, Muhammad Shafi, and Muhammad Yousuf Bhat.
With this release, 17 leaders of various parties in Kashmir are still in detention at the MLA hostel, IANS reported. This excluded three former chief ministers of the state – National Conference President Farooq Abdullah, whose detention under the Public Safety Act was extended by three months on December 15, his son Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti. Abdullah 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 number of people still under house arrest is not clear.
On January 16, five more Kashmiri political leaders were released from detention. Before that, five other politicians, including two MLAs, were released from detention in the MLA hostel on December 30.
The Narendra Modi-led government has faced global pressure to restore normalcy in the Valley. On January 24, the shutdown partially eased up: the government allowed access to 301 websites related to banking, commerce, education, entertainment, travel and news. No social media sites featured on this list. 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.