Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday welcomed with a tweet the release of his political rival Mehbooba Mufti, who had been in detention since August 5 last year, when the Centre announced its massive decisions — to revoke special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the bifurcation of the then state into two Union territories. The National Conference leader said her detention was a “travesty” and against the “tenets of democracy”.
“I’m pleased to hear that Mehbooba Mufti Sahiba has been released after more than a year in detention. Her continued detention was a travesty and was against the basic tenets of democracy. Welcome out Mehbooba,” he 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.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 13, 2020
Mr Abdullah was also among scores of politicians detained by the Jammu and Kashmir administration, a day before the Centre announced its decisions in parliament.
In February this year, Mr Abdullah and Ms Mufti had been charged under the Public Safety Act – a stringent law that allows detention without trial for up to three months and multiple extensions.
Mr Abdullah was released by the administration in late March. Since then, he has been demanding Ms Mufti’s release.
“It’s callous and cruel to continue to detain Mehbooba Mufti and others at a time like this (COVID-19 outbreak). There was never much justification to detain everyone in the first place and none at all to keep them detained as the country enters a three-week lockdown. I hope Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release them,” he had tweeted a day after his release.
Ms Mufti’s release comes just as the deadline set by the Supreme Court was set to expire.
In September, the court questioned the central government and the J&K administration over her detention, asking them: “How long can Mehbooba Mufti be kept in custody?”
The top court gave two weeks’ time to the Jammu and Kashmir administration to give its stand on how long Ms Mufti can be kept in custody and whether her custody can be extended beyond one year.