The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Thursday allegedly prevented Peoples Democratic Party leaders from attending the party’s first official meeting since the abrogation of special status under Article 370 on August 5 last year, a tweet from former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s account, which is handled by her daughter Iltija Mufti, said.
Some party leaders posted videos on social media showing police officers outside their homes, who allegedly prevented them from leaving. Hours before the meeting, the police informed the senior party leaders that they were not allowed to move out of their residences, The Indian Express reported.
“We have not been allowed to meet,” PDP’s General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone told The Indian Express. “The [party] leaders weren’t allowed to move out of their houses. I was not allowed to move out. We have cancelled the meeting.” Lone had convened the meeting at the party headquarters in Srinagar.
The party had on September 1 written to the Kashmir divisional commissioner, inspector general of police and other senior officials informing them about the indoor meeting. “Since only the senior leaders are participating, it won’t be a huge gathering and we would ensure that the measures and protocols with regard to Covid-19 pandemic are adhered to,” the letter stated. No response was given from the authorities concerned, the party leaders said.
Most of the Peoples Democratic Party leaders are under detention at their homes. Lone questioned the decision to not allow the party leaders to attend the meeting. “Why are we the only party that is not being allowed to meet?” he asked. “Why only our leaders are under house detention? Why PSA is extended only against our leader Mehbooba ji? It seems the government is afraid of us.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Centre-backed Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party have been allowed to hold meetings without any restrictions since the August 5 decision. The National Conference too has convened party meetings, including its Political Affairs Committee meet, in the past two weeks.
Almost all of the Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti – were put under house arrest before the August 5, 2019, decision.
Omar Abdullah was released seven months later on March 24 after the Jammu and Kashmir administration revoked his detention order under the Public Safety Act. Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13. People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone was formally released on July 31. However, Mehbooba Mufti remains in detention.