Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said that the Enforcement Directorate has issued summons to her mother to appear in person for questioning on “unknown charges”.
Officials told PTI Gulshan Nazir was called on July 14 in connection with a money laundering case.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister linked the summons with her party’s decision not to meet the delimitation commission tasked with redrawing borders of Assembly segments in the Union Territory.
“In its attempts to intimidate political opponents, GOI [government of India] doesn’t even spare senior citizens,” Mufti tweeted. “Agencies like NIA [National Investigation Agency] and ED are now its tools to settle scores.”
Earlier on Tuesday, nine political parties and civil society groups in Jammu and Kashmir accepted invitation of the delimitation commission to meet its members during their visit to the Union Teritory. The commission, led by former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, will hold a series of meetings with political parties, district election officers and other stakeholders during its four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir beginning Tuesday.
Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party, however, refused to meet the panel, saying that the Centre had not taken any steps to ease the lives of the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
In a letter to the commission, party General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura expressed apprehensions that the “delimitation exercise is part of the overall process of political disempowerment” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He added that the party believes the commission does not have a constitutional or legal mandate to carry out the exercise.
Delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir
Seven more constituencies will be added to the Union Territory’s 83-member Assembly ahead of the elections, according to the J&K Reorganisation Act. The delimitation commission will draw the boundaries of these new Assembly constituencies. There are apprehensions that the Bharatiya Janata Party may use the process to alter political outcomes in what was earlier India’s only Muslim-majority state.
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an all-party meeting with Jammu and Kashmir leaders where the matter of delimitation was discussed among other things. This was the first meeting between the Centre and political parties from the erstwhile state since its special status was abrogated in 2019.
With the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the erstwhile state was split into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Curfews and internet blockades were imposed in the region after that.
Almost all of Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including Mufti and National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, were put under detention. Farooq Abdullah was released from detention on March 13, 2020. Omar Abdullah’s detention was also revoked over a week later. Sajjad Lone was released in July, while Mufti’s detention ended on October 13.