The three former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti – should remain in detention if it helps in maintaining peace in the Valley, Union minister Jitendra Singh on Friday told a group of officers who briefed him about the situation in the newly created Union Territory. Even though the Home Ministry has said that Kashmir leaders will be released gradually, Singh’s remarks raise the big question which the Centre needs to answer - For how long will these leaders will remain in detention?
It’s been 103 days since mainstream Kashmiri leaders were detained in anticipation of protests against the Centre’s move to divide Kashmir into two parts and revoked the state’s special status and there seems no hope of them being freed anytime soon, even as the Modi government claims everything is fine in the Valley.
If everything is so fine and under control in the Valley, why not free these leaders? This is the question Opposition parties are asking the central government.
With the Winter Session of Parliament starting from Monday, the Opposition Congress asked whether sitting Lok Sabha member from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah will be allowed to attend the proceedings of the House. Abdullah is among the Kashmir leaders detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
“Kashmir has been in a lockdown situation for the last 103 days. The prime minister (Narendra Modi) is going around the world saying ‘all is well’,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said at a press conference on Friday.
“Is it not that Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti take their oaths under the Constitution of India. Omar Abdullah has held several positions in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet, you have been in a government with Mehbooba Mufti, and today you have put them in the same category as separatists,” Khera said.
The Congress leader also promised that his party will raise its voice for all those mainstream leaders who are under detention in Jammu and Kashmir during the Parliament Winter Session from November 18 to December 13.