Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. (PTI file)
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were arrested moments after Rajya Sabha passed the bill to bifurcate the state into two Union territories on August 5. Minutes after PDP chief Mufti’s arrest, National Conference leader Abdullah was also taken into custody. Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference leaders Sajjad Lone and Imran Ansari have also been arrested. Some more arrests have been made, officials said, without sharing details.
According to a report by The Times of India, an argument between the two leaders broke out after their detention at Hari Niwas Palace last week that forced the administration to keep them in different detention centres.
“Both were accusing each other of getting BJP into Jammu and Kashmir. At one point, Omar shouted at Mehbooba, taunting her and the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for aligning with BJP between 2015 and 2018,” an official of the hospitality and protocol department told the newspaper.
The government had earlier revoked the state's special status, provided under Article 370, via presidential order.
Mufti and Abdullah were taken to Hari Niwas - a VVIP state guest house. They were put under house arrest as the authorities clamped restrictions under Section 144 of CrPC.
The ToI report added that Mufti allegedly retaliated to Abdullah’s attack. "She reminded Omar that his father Farooq Abdullah had an alliance with the BJP under Atal Bihari Vajpayee. She told him loudly, 'You were even junior minister for external affairs in the Vajpayee government',” the official told the daily.
As the debate continued, the administration decided it would be best to separate them, the official said. Abdullah was shifted to a house maintained by the forest department in Chesmashahi, at the foot of Mahadev Peakm while Mufti remains at Hari Niwas Palace.
Meanwhile, it was a quiet, lonely Eid for former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, Abdullah and Mufti on Monday, quite unlike previous years when their homes were full of celebratory crowds of supporters, friends and family members, officials said.
On Monday, a week after the government's announcement, their homes in the city's posh Gupkar Road were deserted with only a security vehicle stationed outside.
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah is under house arrest at his residence. Elsewhere in the Valley, too, Eid-al-Adha celebrations were muted with an unprecedented security cover and curfew-like restrictions. All modes of communication, including internet and phones, have been snapped.
Eid prayers were limited to neighbourhood mosques in Kashmir. Security forces fanned out across towns and villages, restricting the movement of people and prohibiting congregations in large grounds.