Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, was shifted to her residence, where her detention will continue, the administration said today amid rising concerns over the spread of coronavirus. In its order, the administration named her Gupkaar Road residence as a "subsidiary jail". Ms Mufti was placed under detention along with scores of other political leaders in August last year, when the Centre ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 357 of the constitution and bifurcated it into two union territories. the Centre had called it a preventive measure for possible backlash against the move.
Announcing her homecoming on Twitter, Iltija Mufti, the daughter of Mehbooba Mufti, who has been operating the leader's twitter account, posted: "All Kashmiris illegally detained since 5th August deserve freedom.Their continued incarceration even in times of a global pandemic undermines our democratic credentials. Nevertheless, I'd like to thank everyone for their support & good wishes."
Another tweet read:
My gratitude to the media in Kashmir for their concern & well wishes. May I please humbly request that you give the family privacy as we wait for her to come home today. Please remember this isn't a release & the house has been declared as a subsidiary jail— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) April 7, 2020
Last month, two former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir - Omar Abdullah and his father, 83-year-old Farooq Abdullah - were released from detention. But Ms Mufti had remained under detention despite demands for her release.
Omar Abdullah, who has been among those demanding Ms Mufti's release, today tweeted: "Mehbooba Mufti must be set free. Shifting her home while continuing to keep her detained is a cop out."
A senior bureaucrat in Delhi told NDTV: "There are growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19. In this backdrop, the government took a view that she should also be with her family and that is why decision to shift her to Fairview was taken".
Jammu and Kashmir has so far had 109 cases of COVID-19. Of them, two persons have died and four have recovered from the disease.
The decision to release Ms Mufti, an official said, would be in line with the policy adopted by Centre in relation to the release of political leaders. It would also be the Centre's decision, he said, adding that her release would be done in a "phased manner," he said.
Four political leaders are still under detention in Jammu and Kashmir -- Ali Mohad Sagar, Nayeem Akhtar, Shah Faesal and Hilal Lone.