Mehbooba Mufti released, vows to fight against the ‘robbery and humiliation of August 5, 2019’

Published : October 14, 2020 14:54 IST

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti addressing a public rally in July 2019 in Srinagar. Photo: PTI

As soon as she was released from her 14-month detention at her residence in the late evening of Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir's former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti resolved to fight for restoration of Article 370. In an audio message uploaded from her Twitter handle, she said no one in Kashmir could forget the “robbery and humiliation” of August 5 last year, when the erstwhile State was stripped of its semi-autonomous status.

Mincing no words, Mehbooba Mufti who heads the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said that the unilateral action taken by “Delhi Durbar” on August 5, 2019 was “unconstitutional, undemocratic and unlawful”. “I have become free today after more than a year. During this time the black decision of August 5, 2019, black day, would always pain my heart and soul. And I realise that the people of J&K would have the same feeling. Nobody among us can forget the day’s robbery and humiliation,” she said in the audio message.

She hinted at a coordinated, long-drawn-out fight against New Delhi’s political incursion in Kashmir, as she called on people for a collective struggle. “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. I appeal that all the people who have been locked up in prisons should be released at the earliest,” she said.

Later, her party announced that Mehbooba Mufti will hold a press conference on Friday, October 16.

The announcement of her release was made by Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir, who tweeted after 9 p.m. on October 13 that “Ms Mehbooba Mufti being released”. The PDP president was detained on the intervening night of August 4 and 5, 2019. She was later booked under the Public Safety Act that provides for detention without trial for a period up to two years. She was detained at her Gupkar Road official residence in Srinagar, which had been turned into a subsidiary jail.

The decision to release her was made before a deadline set by the Supreme Court, which had been approached by her daughter Iltija Mufti with a habeas corpus petition challenging her “illegal” detention. The Supreme Court on September 29 had asked the Central government and the Jammu and Kashir administration how long the former Chief Minister could be kept in custody and given time until October 14 to present their case.

Her release was cheered with congratulatory messages on twitter by her party colleagues and workers and also political rivals such as Omar Abdullah, who tweeted: “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”.

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