October 2019 News

Govt Indicates It Would Release Kashmir Leaders

3 October 2019
Times of India
M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: Political leaders in Kashmir who have been under detention for the last two months are likely to be released soon in a phased manner after a case-wise 'analysis', Jammu Kashmir governor's adviser said on Thursday. Nearly 40 leaders, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been detained after the Centre defanged Article 370 and scrapped Article 35A which gave special powers to the people of JK. However, sources said only middle-level leaders are likely to be released for the moment. The Abdullahs and Mufti are unlikely to be set free, sources added. The government indicated that the leaders would be set free only after the administration was convinced that their release would not adversely affect the situation in the Valley. 'Have hope. They (leaders) will be released one by one, after proper analysis of every individual and proper review,' Farooq Khan, adviser to the governor, told newspersons in Jammu in response to a query. The government's indication on release of political leaders came a day after leaders of non-BJP parties in the Jammu region had said that the administration had 'lifted' restrictions imposed on them. However, Jammu divisional commissioner Sanjeev Verma said that the Jammu leaders were never detained and were free to participate in political activities. 'We never restrained them... They were under self-imposed restriction,' he said on Wednesday. In another development, Kashmiri journalists belonging to various national as well as local media organisations sat on a dharna at Kashmir Press Club in Srinagar protesting against the communication blockade which entered the 60th day on Thursday. In a statement, the journalists demanded access to Internet and broadband services and mobile connectivity. 'How long can the journalists of the Valley rely solely on official releases and occasional press briefings that have always been a one-way communication?' the journalists said in a statement. Meanwhile, the administration claimed that all higher secondary schools in the Valley were reopened from Thursday. However, according to reports emanating from various places, the students could not resume studies as most of the schools are still occupied by personnel of paramilitary forces.