PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti released after over a year in detention, demands other prisoners from J&K be set free

Mehbooba Mufti was arrested along with other leaders hours ahead of the Centre bifurcating the state into two union territories and abrogating Article 370 in August 2019

FP Staff October 13, 2020 23:36:28 IST
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti released after over a year in detention, demands other prisoners from J&K be set free

File image of Mehbooba Mufti. Reuters

After being detained for over a year under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti is being released, an official spokesperson of the Jammu and Kashmir administration said on Tuesday.

"Ms. Mehbooba Mufti being released," JK government spokesman Rohit Kansal tweeted.

Reacting to the announcement to release the former J&K chief minister, her daughter Iltija Mufti tweeted from her mother's official Twitter handle:

Mehbooba too released an audio statement on Twitter later in the evening.

Terming 5 August as a 'Black Day' and the Central government's decision to revoke Article 370 and bifurcate the erstwhile state into two UTs as "undemocratic", Mehbooba called for a continuation of the efforts to resolve the Kashmir issue.

She also demanded the release of all Kashmiris who have been imprisoned in jails across the country.

Mehbooba, who became the first woman chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2016 as head of the PDP-BJP alliance, was arrested along with other leaders hours ahead of the Centre bifurcating the state into two union territories and abrogating Article 370.

Mehbooba's daughter, Iltija, had challenged her detention in the Supreme Court, which last heard the case on 29 September.

While hearing the case, a bench of Justices SK Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy granted 15 days to the Union Territory to file a response and asked as to what was the maximum period for which a person can be detained under the specific law.

Stating that "Mehbooba can't be detained forever", the bench had also asked the UT to clarify whether the authorities proposed to continue with the detention of the PDP leader.

Besides Mehbooba, several other politicians from PDP, members of the Hurriyat Conference as well leaders from the National Conference and Congress were arrested as well.

She was first detained under sections 107 and 151 of CrPC but later booked under the controversial Public Safety Act.

Initially, Mehbooba was lodged at Cheshma Shahi guest house and then shifted to another government guest house at MA Link Road.

The PDP president was then taken to her residence where she remained under house arrest.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers and National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah were released in March after over seven months in detention.

With inputs from PTI

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