Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was released from detention after over a year on Tuesday, said that the leaders and people of Kashmir will never forget the humiliation caused by the Centre’s decision to abolish the erstwhile state’s special status under Article 370. She added that Kashmiris have to get back what the government snatched from them.

“I have been released today after over an year,” Mufti said in an audio message after her release. “All through this time, the black day of August 5 kept wounding my soul. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have also suffered like this. None of us can forget the insult of that day.”

The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party leader added: “We have to get back what the Delhi snatched from us in an undemocratic and illegal way.” She said the people of the Union Territory would have to continue their efforts to resolve the Kashmir matter. “I know this will not be easy but our courage and determination will take us through,” Mufti said.

The former chief minister also demanded that the prisoners kept in jails in Jammu and Kashmir and across the country be released.

Mehbooba Mufti’s release came two days before the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear her daughter Iltija Mufti’s petition against her detention under the Public Safety Act. On September 29, it had asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to respond to the petition.

Mufti had been in detention since August 5, 2019, the day the Centre abolished the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and bifurcated it into Union Territories, and imposed a complete lockdown.

File photo of Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti. | PTI

Almost all of the Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including two other former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah – were detained 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. People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone was released in July.

Political leaders welcome Mufti’s release

Politicians across party lines welcomed Mufti’s release from detention.

“I’m pleased to hear that Mehbooba Mufti Sahiba has been released after more than a year in detention,” Abdullah tweeted. “Her continued detention was a travesty and was against the basic tenets of democracy. Welcome out, Mehbooba.”

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed relief over Mufti’s release. “Thank God at last Mehbooba Mufti has been released after more than 15 months,” he said. “This detention like that of Farooq Sahib and Omar Abdullah was unique one in our country, where the govt [government] ordered detention themselves don’t know reason and crime committed by these 3 leaders. Jai ho democracy.”

Lone also sent his wishes to Mufti. “Mehbooba Mufti has apparently been released,” he tweeted. “Great news. She has been through a very tough time. Wishing her all the best.”

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also welcomed Mufti’s release. “Glad that former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and head of PDP, Mehbooba Mufti ji has been released,” he said. “Detention of political leaders like this has no place in a democracy. BJP-led government is yet to learn to give space to the opposition.”