An MP from former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's party has written to Home Minister Amit Shah, asking him to release all political leaders who are under detention since the government scrapped special status to the state under Article 370 of the Constitution and divided it into two Union Territories.
The letter by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) MP Mir Mohammad Fayaz comes on day two of the winter session of parliament and amid demands by the opposition parties to allow another former chief minister, Farooq Abdullah, 81, to attend house proceedings.
"We strongly demand the release of all political leaders and party workers and as well as the three chief ministers who have been detained since more than three and a half months now," Mr Fayaz said in the letter to the Home Minister.
Mr Abdullah has been held under detention at his house in Srinagar after he was charged with "disturbing public order" under the strict Public Safety Act. The opposition has accused the government of running away from debate by not letting the former chief minister attend parliament as he would try to corner them on the Kashmir issue.
"Either instruct the government to release him or Home Minister should make a statement in the House," Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said in parliament on Monday.
In his letter, Mr Fayaz alleged the political leaders and party workers were "dealt in a very humiliating manner" when they were shifted to a "new sub-jail". The leaders had last week complained of police highhandedness in shifting them, while the police denied they were manhandled.
"...They have been subject to extremely scanty and indignant living conditions in detention," Mr Fayaz said, adding, "The MLA Hostel at the moment houses 33 detained political leaders, all coming from various forays of politics in Kashmir, to undertake the democratic process in Kashmir, the release of all the jailed leaders is a pre-requisite and essential as well."
The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi maintains that it took the step of detaining political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir to prevent trouble. The state had been under lockdown for nearly two months and mobile internet had been snapped before restrictions were eased gradually.
During a debate in Lok Sabha in August, Amit Shah said the National Conference patriarch had not been detained or arrested. On Monday, in response to a flurry of questions, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said when Mr Shah informed the house that Mr Abdullah was not under detention, he was technically correct.
The opposition Congress has also called on the government to allow its jailed leader, P Chidambaram, to attend parliament. The former finance minister tweeted on Monday asking his party to hold the ruling BJP to account over "utter mismanagement" of the economy.