Second batch of envoys in J&K for two days
Srinagar: In the past one week, there have been dramatic developments on the political front in Jammu and Kashmir. The Central government, after positive feedback from the first batch of envoys who visited Kashmir in January, allowed 25 envoys, including from European countries, to visit Jammu and Kashmir for two days. The developments came close on the heels of the decision by the government to slap Public Safety Act (PSA) on former chief ministers, including Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, along with dozens of their colleagues.
A rebel group with former PDP minister Altaf Bukhari heading it, has given indications that it will float a new political outfit in Jammu and Kashmir and will decide on the future course of action. Bukhari recently told this newspaper that people of Kashmir will have to think beyond scrapping of Article 370, and cannot remain in perpetual mourning for this move.
Meanwhile, Omar Abdullah’s sister Sara Abdullah Pilot approached the Supreme Court for intervention. The dossier of Omar Abdullah said that he was a “threat” because he could mobilise people to vote during the peak of militancy. Being a “Daddy’s girl”, having a green-coloured flag for the party and “pro-separatist” tweets on social media—these were some points based on which the PSA was slapped against Mehbooba Mufti.
On the writ petition of Omar Abdullah, the Supreme Court on Friday said that they will take up the case again on 2 March, while issuing notice to the J&K administration to respond. The Supreme Court rejected the plea of lawyer Kapil Sibal to hear it earlier and decided to issue notice while the Sara Abdullah had petitioned before the court that Omar Abdullah should be produced in person and freed immediately.
Although Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti had recently told media that it would be the decision of Mehbooba Mufti whether to move court or not, reports said that she would also be soon moving the Supreme Court challenging the PSA slapped against her mother.
Meanwhile, Iltija Mufti took a dig at the Centre for sending another batch of envoys to Kashmir. She said that these diplomats were enjoying as tourists in Kashmir at the expense of common people. In a series of tweets from the handle of her mother, she expressed hope that these envoys would take up the continued curbs on internet and the alleged muzzling of political dissent in Kashmir by the Central government by slapping PSA on former chief ministers and ministers.
The 25 diplomats, during their two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, were mainly briefed by army, administration and by Lt. Governor G.C. Murmu while they held meeting with Chief Justice of J&K High Court, besides meeting select groups of the business community and civil society members. The delegation included diplomats from Canada, Austria, Uzbekistan, Uganda, Slovak Republic, Netherlands, Namibia, Kyrgyz Republic, Bulgaria, Germany, Tajikistan, France, Mexico, Denmark, Italy, Afghanistan, New Zealand, Poland, and Rwanda.
The second batch of diplomats also included EU representatives, and their participation assumes significance as the EU Parliament recently initiated to bring a joint draft resolution on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and Kashmir, the vote on which was later deferred due to the Centre’s efforts.