Daughter and sister of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah were among several other women detained by the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Tuesday as they staged a peaceful protest against the abrogation of Article 370.
Prominent women members of the civil society including Suraya Mattoo, sister Farooq Abdullah, his daughter Safiya Abdullah, Hawa Bashir, wife of former J-K Chief Justice Bashir Ahmed Khan, and others had gathered at the Press Enclave area of Residency Road in Srinagar carrying placards.
“On August 5, we were locked inside our homes and Article 370 was abrogated. This is a marriage by compulsion which won’t work,” Suraiya Abdullah was quoted as saying by IANS.
Before the protesters could hit the road, the police intervened and took them into preventive custody.
This is the first public protest since against the abrogation of Article 370 by Parliament on August 5.
The protest comes in the wake of easing restrictions on movement and communication in the Valley.
Hundreds of political leaders in Kashmir, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah are still under preventive detention even after over two months of the Centre announcing its move to end special status granted to the state under the Article 370 and splitting it into two Union Territories.
However, almost all the leaders in Jammu have been freed from house arrest ahead of the Block Development Council (BDC) polls on October 24.
Apart from the normal house arrest, Farooq Abdullah has been detained under the Public Safety Act.
The PSA allows detention of any individual for up to two years without a trial. Ironically, the law was first promulgated during Sheikh Abdullah’s tenure, father of Farooq Abdullah.
Abdullah’s detention came ahead of the Supreme Court issuing notices to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government on a plea by Tamil Nadu leader Vaiko seeking National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah’s release from detention.
Meanwhile, a team of National Conference (NC) leaders had on October 6 met former chief minister and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah at his residence in Srinagar. The delegation also met NC vice-president Omar Abdullah at Hari Nivas.
Kashmir was under an unprecedented security clampdown as restrictions were imposed in the Valley following the Centre’s move.
The Government has affirmed that restrictions in Kashmir are aimed at preventing Pakistan from creating trouble through proxies and terrorists.
On detention of politicians, the Centre and the state government has claimed that it was done in accordance with the provisions of law to maintain law and order in the Valley.