‘Mufti, Omar are in preventive custody’
Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy said former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were in “preventive custody” and the decision to release them will be reviewed after August 15.
There is no clarity under what law several political leaders in the Valley have been detained since the night of August 4. They have been detained since a day before Home Minister Amit Shah introduced two legislations in the Rajya Sabha to annul Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to the State, and bifurcate it into two Union Territories.
“The two leaders are under preventive custody,” Mr. Reddy told The Hindu.
An order signed by Srinagar’s Executive Magistrate placing Ms. Mufti in detention said, “Keeping in consideration present situation in Kashmir and strong apprehensions of breach of peace and tranquillity it has become imperative to take such necessary measures for preventing and deteriorating and escalating further any law and order situation in Kashmir.”
The order said the ground floor of the Hari Niwas guest house was declared as a “subsidiary jail under SRO-498” and she was being put under detention for “preventing law and order situation.” Besides Ms. Mufti, copies of the order were sent to District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, Srinagar and the magistrate of the subsidiary jail.
“These are called magisterial orders and several others are in preventive custody,” a senior J&K police officer said. An official said such orders are issued by the executive and are “precautionary” in nature.
The official said that Member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah was not under any kind of preventive detention.
On August 6, the Home Minister had told the Lok Sabha that Mr. Farooq Abdullah was “neither arrested nor detained and he was at his home by his free will.”
The same day Mr. Abdullah told NDTV “I feel sad that Home Minister of India can lie like this and say that I wasn’t detained. I was detained in my house,” adding that he had to force himself out of his house.
A group of activists led by economist Jean Dreze claimed on August 14 that they were not allowed to Mr. Abdullah when they visited his house in Srinagar. “Police deployed outside his house were suspended as they allowed the TV channels to take his interview,” one of the activists claimed. The group was in the Kashmir Valley from August 9-13.
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