NEW DELHI — “None of us will ever forget the August 5, 2019 robbery and humiliation.”
This was stated by former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti in an audio statement posted on social media shortly after she was released by authorities in Srinagar, Kashmir after 14 months of detention.
The Union Territory administration on Tuesday night revoked the detention order under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA) imposed on the 61-year-old president of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
She and hundreds of other pro-India, separatist Kashmiri leaders and ordinary youths were jailed on August 5 last year when the Indian government revoked Kashmir’s special constitutional status.
The PDP chief whose party had formed a coalition government in Kashmir with Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said in her one-minute, 23-second audio statement:
“I am released today after more than a year. Meanwhile, the dark decision of the dark day of August 5, 2019 kept attacking my heart and soul at every moment. I feel that this is the condition of all the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Mehbooba Mufti says in the audio message that Kashmiris must reiterate that what was snatched from them by the ‘Delhi Darbar’ on August 5, 2019 in an “unconstitutional, undemocratic and illegal manner must be recovered.”
“At the same time, we must continue our struggle to resolve the Kashmir issue, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people in Jammu and Kashmir. I believe that this path will not be easy at all, but I am sure that the courage and determination of all of us will help us to march ahead on this difficult path.”
Mufti has demanded the release of Kashmiri youths and political activists held in Indian jails under PSA and UAPA.
“While I have been released today, I want all the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are lodged in various jails in India to be released as soon as possible.”
Political parties in Kashmir have welcomed the release of Mehbooba Mufti.
The Kashmir administration had on April 7 this year shifted Mehbooba Mufti from Srinagar’s Transport Yard sub-jail to her residence at Gupkar Road, which was declared a sub-jail.
The controversial law, the Public Safety Act, under which Mehbooba Mufti was detained was enacted by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, founder of the National Conference and former Chief Minister, to check forest smugglers. Interestingly the government used the same law against his son (Farooq Abdullah) and grandson (Omar Abdullah) as well.
The law has been declared an “illegal law” by Amnesty International. Most of the time the law is imposed on separatist leaders and activists and they are locked up in jails outside Kashmir.