Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti was released late Tuesday night after being in detention for 14 months.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister was detained since the central government had scrapped Article 370 on 5 August 2019 and was charged under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) that allows detention and multiple extensions without trial.
After her release, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted an audio message in which she said she will continue her struggle for the restoration of Article 370 and the resolution of the Kashmir issue. She also said that the Centre’s decision of abrogation of Article 370 was a ‘black day’.
The Centre had ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into union territories on 5 August 2019.
After being released from fourteen long months of illegal detention, a small message for my people. pic.twitter.com/gIfrf82Thw
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) October 13, 2020
Mufti said, “Today, I have been released after more than a year. All this while, the black day – August 5, 2019 – continued to assault my soul. I believe, all people in Jammu and Kashmir would be feeling the same way. None of us can forget the insult we were made to face that day.”
She said that the ‘path will not be easy’ but is confident about the ‘courage’ of people.
“Now, we all have to remember… what Delhi Durbar took from us with an illegal, unconstitutional and undemocratic decision on August 5, we have to take it back. Thousands have lost lives because of (the) Kashmir issue… we have to continue the struggle for now. I agree, this won’t be easy on any of us. However, I am confident that our courage will help us sail through,” she added.
Mehbooba Mufti also demanded the release of the Kashmiri people who are still in jail across the country.
She said, “I appeal that all the people who have been locked up in prisons should be released at the earliest.”
The release of Mehbooba Mufti comes after the Supreme Court on September 29 had questioned the central and Jammu and Kashmir administration asking them, “How long can Mehbooba Mufti be kept in custody?” The top court had given the Jammu and Kashmir administration two weeks till 14 October for their answer.
Mufti’s PSA detention was extended by another three months in July which was announced after her six months detention.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, who was also charged under PSA and was released in March tweeted, “I’m pleased to hear that Mehbooba Mufti sahiba has been released after more than a year in detention. Her continued detention was a travesty & was against the basic tenets of democracy. Welcome out Mehbooba,”
I’m pleased to hear that @MehboobaMufti Sahiba has been released after more than a year in detention. Her continued detention was a travesty & was against the basic tenets of democracy. Welcome out Mehbooba.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 13, 2020
Mehbooba Mufti was initially detained under preventive custody on 5 August 2019 at Chashme Shahi Guest House. She was later shifted to a government bungalow in December and was allowed to return to her Gupkaar Road residence in Srinagar which was declared ‘subsidiary jail.’
The Centre had placed several political leaders from the erstwhile state under dentition and had enforced an internet blockade for several months after the revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating it into union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.