5 Political Leaders, Detained In Srinagar Since August, Released


Five politicians were released from detention in Srinagar today, nearly five months after the central government took them into custody as a precautionary measure ahead of the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

However, Kashmir’s three most prominent leaders — National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti — continue to remain in detention. The centre has not provided any definite date for their release, only letting on that they will be freed at an “appropriate” time

The five former lawmakers have been released from the MLA hostel, which houses over 30 former ministers and legislators. The freed leaders comprised Ishfaq Jabbar, Ghulam Nabi Bhat (both from National Conference), Bashir Mir, Zahoor Mir and Yasir Reshi (all from the Peoples Deomocratic Party).

Two political leaders — Dilawar Mir of the PDP and Ghulam Hassan Mir of the Democratic Party Nationalist — were earlier released on November 25.

The BJP-led centre had scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 through a presidential order on August 5, and clamped down on the state to prevent a backlash from the public. Shortly afterwards, it bifurcated the state into two union territories.

Most of the political leaders in the state were placed in detention hours before the centre took the unprecedented step, saying it was an essential step towards ensuring that they do not fan dissent among the people. It also enforced an Internet blackout in the state, restoring it only after 145 days on Friday.”The situation in the region is normal only because these leaders have been detained. The results of these detentions are clear. No bloodbath happened this time because these leaders were kept out,” Farookh Khan, advisor to the Jammu and Kashmir governor, had told NDTV at the time.

The United Nations, however, does not share the government’s views. “We are extremely concerned that the population of Kashmir continues to be deprived of a wide range of human rights and we urge the Indian authorities to unlock the situation and fully restore the rights that are currently being denied,” the UN High Commission for Human Rights has said. Political leaders in Jammu were released in October, two months after they were taken into custody.