August 2019 News

No Word On Mehbooba Mufti's Release, Family Says Not Allowed To Meet

26 August 2019
Neeta Sharma

Srinagar: Two former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir - Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti - have been in police custody for nearly a month and sources say there is no word on when they might be released. Mehbooba Mufti's family has alleged that have not been allowed to meet her even once since her arrest. Sources in the state administration, however, said they have received no such request from the families. Mehbooba Mufti's elder sister Rubaya Mufti and younger daughter Iltija Mufti have repeatedly requested the government for a meeting with her. A letter dated August 21, from Rubya Syeed, Mehbooba Mufti's sister, addressed to the Director of Security, reads: 'Despite repeated requests, we haven't been granted permission to see her. My aged mother is wracked with anxiety about the well-being of her daughter'. 'We ask them roughly every day,' said Mehbooba Mufti's daughter Iltija Javed. The letter was given as the security personnel were not responding to verbal requests, but the written request has also had no response, she said. 'I have not received anything in writing and they are completely ignoring the legal aspect of what they are doing,' she added. Sources in the government said as many as 40 mainstream political leaders have been detained across Jammu and Kashmir since the Centre scrapped special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories. 'About half a dozen of them have been put in house arrest in Jammu while the rest are in the Valley,' a senior government functionary told NDTV. The government has claimed the arrests are part of the preventive measures undertaken to prevent a backlash and maintain peace and they will be rolled back once normalcy returns. But nearly a month on, none of the measures have been completely rolled back. There has been no withdrawal of security forces, internet is still on the blink, landline has been restored in pockets and political leaders remain under arrest. 'All cabinet ministers both in Mehbooba and Omar Abdullah regimes aged below 70 years, are under house arrest,' the officer said. The list of those confined includes former chief minister and Member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah, People's Conference leader Sajad Lone and former IAS officer Shah Faesal. Those under arrest in Jammu include brother of Union Minister Jitendra Singh. 'Devender Singh Rana is at his residence only and his family members keep meeting him,' an officer said. Most of them have been lodged at the Centaur hotel. Omar Abdullah is at the Hari Niwas Palace - the state guest house - and Mehbooba Mufti at Chashme Shahi, where one of the prettiest public gardens of Srinagar is located. Last weekend the Director Intelligence Bureau Arvind Kumar along with some officers was in Kashmir. But sources said it was for internal meetings with various wings of agencies and to get a feedback on progress made on directions which the national security advisor Ajit Doval had spelled out before he left valley after Eid. Officers on the ground say there's a long way to go before these leaders would set free. 'I doubt if it will happen anytime soon,' said another official in Jammu and Kashmir.