Former J&K CMs Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. (Photo Credit: File)
The Opposition on Monday demanded immediate release of all political detainees in Jammu and Kashmir, especially three former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. “There are growing assaults on democratic norms, fundamental rights and civic liberties of citizens,” a joint statement by Opposition leaders said. “As a result, dissent is not only being stifled, but the avenues of raising critical voices are also being systematically muted.”
Nothing exemplifies this more starkly than the continuing detention on “flimsiest of grounds” of three former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers for over seven months.
“There is nothing in the past records of these three leaders to lend credence to the Modi government's false and self-serving claim that they pose a threat to 'public safety' in J&K or that they have endangered national interests with their activities,” they added.
The parties which demanded their release are the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Janata Dal Secular, CPM, CPI and Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). Besides, former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie are the signatories. The Congress was not a signatory to the resolution.
The three chief ministers - Nationalist Conference (NC) leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, and Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti - have been kept under preventive detention in their houses in Srinagar. There have been demands from their respective parties to release these politicians.
The J&K administration recently said in the history of independent India the existence and continuance of Article 370 of the Constitution, which used to give special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, has "always remained a contentious and burning issue". It also said that Abdullah should have moved the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to avail his remedy before approaching the apex court.
(With PTI inputs)