The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Iltija Iqbal to meet mother Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar, where the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister is under detention following abrogation of Article 370. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi allowed Iltija to meet her after she submitted in the court that she has no problem in going to her Srinagar residence but has not been able to move out freely there. In her petition, Iltija had submitted that she is concerned about her mother's health as she has not met her for a month.
Previously, Iltijqa had also written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah. “Today while the rest of the country celebrates India’s Independence Day, Kashmiris have been caged like animals and deprived of basic human rights. It’s suffocating and humiliating to be treated in this manner. I have to grovel for permission to allow my aged grandmother to visit her son. Is she also a potential threat?”, Iltija wrote on August 15.
The top court’s order comes exactly a month after the top political leaders in the Valley were arrested or detained following the abrogation of Article 370. Apart from Mufti, Omar Abdullah’s family has also been allowed to meet him. These leaders were taken into custody as ‘precautionary measure’ amid tensions in Kashmir after New Delhi on August 5 announced abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and decided to bifurcate the state into Union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh - hours after Kashmir was placed under a total clampdown.
Mehbooba Mufti's mother and sister were also allowed to meet her on Thursday at Chashme Shahi in Srinagar where she has been kept under arrest. Earlier, reports suggested that Centre reached out to Omar and Mehbooba to break the ice. “The political lockdown cannot continue forever. There has been some movement to sound out the two leaders for possible easing of restrictions on them. There is need to create space,” The Indian Express quoted a source as saying.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik last month defended communication blockade in the Valley saying there’s no harm in taking such steps if it saves lives. “In all the crises that have happened in Kashmir in the past, at least 50 people used to die in the first week itself. Our attitude is such that there should be no loss of human lives. Dus din telephone nahi honge, nahi honge, lekin hum bahut jaldi sab wapas kar denge (It’s okay if that means there is no telephone service for 10 days… but we will restore everything very soon),” Malik told reporters when asked to comment on how long the restrictions will continue.