“I Have Been Detained At Home”, Says Mehbooba Mufti’s Daughter, Cops Deny
Srinagar: Iltija Mufti, daughter of detained PDP chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, claimed today she too had been detained. Ms Mufti alleged Srinagar Police stopped her from leaving her residence to visit the grave of her grandfather – two-time former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Ms Mufti made a similar claim in August last year, shortly after her mother, along with two other former Chief Ministers – the National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and his son, Omar Abdullah – was among hundreds of politicians detained by the centre in August after it controversially withdrew special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.
“I wanted to go to the mausoleum of my grandfather for his fourth death anniversary (January 7). I sent my personal security officer and driver to seek permission from the authorities, but it was denied,” Ms Mufti, a Special Security Group (SSG) protectee, was quoted by news agency IANS.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s grave is in the Bijbehara area of Anantnag district, which is around 60 kilometres from Srinagar.
“I have been detained at home and not allowed to move anywhere,” she told news agency PTI, adding, “Is it a crime for a granddaughter to visit her grandfather’s grave? Do they think I’m going to organise stone-pelting or protests there?”
She has accused the government and the police of being “arrogant” and has alleging “they do not want peace in the Valley”.
Barricades have been erected around Gupkar Road in Srinagar, which leads to the ‘Fairview’ residence that belongs to Ms Mufti and her mother. Reporters were not allowed to pass; the road was only opened for security personnel and residents.
Mehbooba Mufti, who had earlier been held at ‘Chashmashahi’, was shifted to a government bungalow on MA Road last month after her daughter said she was suffering from severe cold weather.
Ms Mufti’s claim of detention has been denied by the police.
“We have to keep in mind that she is an SSG protectee who has to take police clearance before visiting anywhere,” Munir Khan, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), told PTI, adding, “(maybe) Ananantnag district administration did not give clearance for her visit”.
In August last year Ms Mufti released an audio message claiming she had been barred from leaving her home. She had also written to Home Minister Amit Shah, saying she had been “threatened with dire consequences” if she spoke to the media again.
Iltija Mufti has been fiercely critical of the centre since its contentious decision on Article 370. In September she began operating her mother’s Twitter account and has been tweeting regularly since.
In November she hit out at Srinagar Police for allegedly manhandling three leaders – Sajjad Lone, Shah Faisal and Waheed Para – while shifting them to the MLA Hostel because their previous detention centre lacked proper heating for Kashmiri winters.
Ms Mufti’s claim of detention comes less than a week after the release of five Kashmiri politicians – Ishfaq Jabbar and Ghulam Nabi Bhat from the National Conference, and Bashir Mir, Zahoor Mir and Yasir Reshi from the Peoples Democratic Party. Two others – the PDP’s Dilawar Mir and Ghulam Hassan Mir of the Democratic Party Nationalist – were released on November 25.
Political leaders in Jammu were released in October, two months after they were taken into custody.
With input from PTI, IANS