5 Kashmiri political leaders released after 4 months of detention, NC welcomes move
Srinagar, Dec 30: Five political leaders, who had been under preventive detention for the past 148 days, were released from the MLA hostel on Monday by the Union Territory administration of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
The leaders belonging to the National Conference and the PDP were released after the authorities were satisfied that they would not be indulging in any agitation or call for any strike after their release, they said.
Those released include Ishfaq Jabbar and Ghulam Nabi Bhat (National Conference) and Bashir Mir, Zahoor Mir and Yasir Reshi (PDP), the officials said.
Reshi is considered as a rebel PDP leader who had openly revolted against then chief minister and PDP patron Mehbooba Mufti. He was subsequently removed as the district party chief.
On November 25, two political leaders -- Dilawar Mir of the PDP and Ghulam Hassan Mir of the Democratic Party Nationalist -- were released by the new Union Territory administration.
The National Conference welcomed the decision of the administration and said such moves will help in bridging the gap between the government and the people.
In a statement, party's provincial president Davinder Singh Rana expressed hope that other political detenues will also be released soon. He said such moves will facilitate a conducive atmosphere for a genuine democratic political exercise.
"It will help in reaching out to the people at large and bridge the gap between the government and people besides creating conditions for winning hearts and minds," he said.
Many political leaders were picked up from their residences on August 5, the day when the Centre announced abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two union territories -- Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
The two union territories came into existence on October 31 this year. The political detenues had been kept at Centaur hotel and shifted to the MLA hostel in third week of November.
As many as 34 political detainees were shifted to the hostel from the hotel, located on the banks of the Dal Lake, as Srinagar reeled under harsh winter conditions and the hotel lacked proper heating arrangement, the officials said.
The chill had taken a toll on the health of the detenues, which included leaders from the the National Conference, the PDP and the People's Conference and prominent social activists -- and the security personnel guarding them.
Three former chief ministers -- Farooq Abdulalh, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti -- are also under detention.
While senior Abdullah was slapped with the stringent Public Safety Act on September 17 and remains confined to his residence, Omar Abdullah and Mufti are under detention at different locations in the city.
Mufti was recently shifted to a government accommodation in the city from a tourist hut located at the foothills of Zaberwan range.
The PSA of Abdullah was reviewed on December 15 and it was agreed that he would continue to remain in detention for another 90 days.