Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti on Thursday wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah questioning the “illegal” detention of the valley’s political leaders since the revocation of Article 370.

“Today while the rest of the country celebrates India’s Independence Day, Kashmiris have been caged like animals and deprived of basic human rights,” she wrote.

The former chief minister’s daughter has been under house arrest since August 5. Mehbooba Mufti and another former CM Omar Abdullah are also among 400 political leaders of the Valley who have detained.

Kashmiri IAS topper-turned-politician, Shah Faesal, was on Wednesday detained at the Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and taken back to Srinagar, where he was placed under house arrest.

Calling for clarity on her detention, Iltija said Kashmiris were “reeling under despair” since last week.

She said her arrest was “odd” as she was not affiliated to any political party.

“Kashmir is engulfed in clouds of darkness and I fear for the safety of its people including those who spoke up,” she stated in her letter to Amit Shah.

She further questioned for “being punished for speaking on behalf of Kashmiris whose voices have been smothered”.

“It’s suffocating and humiliating to be treated in this manner. I have to grovel for permission to allow my aged grandmother to visit her son. Is she also a potential threat?” she wrote.

Jammu and Kashmir was put under virtual curfew on 5 August when the Modi government scrapped the Article 370 and split the state into two union territories.

All the political leaders in the Valley were placed under house arrest a day before. All educational institutions were shut down and internet services were snapped.

Tens of thousands of security personnel drawn from paramilitary forces like CRPF, BSF, SSB and ITBP, along with Jammu and Kashmir Police, were deployed, mainly in Kashmir Valley to maintain peace.

In one of the first reactions from Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti called it “darkest day in Indian democracy.”

The PDP president criticised the recent announcement and said the move will have “catastrophic consequences for the subcontinent.”

Mufti called the Centre’s intentions sinister and accused it of trying to change the demography of the only Muslim majority state in the country.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday said that the Government-imposed restrictions have been completely lifted in Jammu, while they “will continue for some more time at certain places in the Kashmir Valley”.