Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s detention under the Public Safety Act was on Friday extended by three more months.
She has been in detention for nearly a year since the Centre scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 to abrogate the region’s special status, and split it into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Mufti’s detention was extended for three months in May.
Principal Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir’s Home Department Shaleen Kabra said the decision was taken to prevent the Peoples Democratic Party chief from “acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
Earlier in the day, People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone was released from detention after 360 days in Srinagar. Lone said jail was not a new experience for him. “Earlier ones were harsh with usual doses of physical torture,” he tweeted. “But this was psychologically draining. Much to share hopefully soon.
Almost all of the Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including two other former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah – were locked up last year. Omar Abdullah was released seven months later on March 24 as the Jammu and Kashmir administration revoked his detention order under the Public Safety Act. Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13.
Mufti is the only major political leader who is officially under detention, according to The Hindu. Others like People’s Democratic Party’s Waheed Para, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement chief Shah Faesal and Congress leader Saifuddin Soz have been in house arrest. Meanwhile, about 200 people from the region are still detained under the PSA, with some of them in jails outside the Union Territory.
On Wednesday, Mufti’s daughter, in an interview, hit out at the Centre for its “cruel” detention of her mother and for stripping the region of its autonomy. “Luckily my mother has inner strength, but the whole point of putting her in isolation like that was very sinister, it was very cruel, it was to break her,” she said.