Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was taken into custody the night before the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, was today moved from Srinagar's Chashme Shahi resort to a more suitable government accommodation in view of plummeting mercury levels.
"Mehbooba has been shifted to a house with proper heating facilities. She had been complaining of chilly conditions lately," a senior official told NDTV.
However, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah -- who is under "precautionary" confinement too -- will remain in Hari Niwas because he is happy with his arrangements. "Omar's family has been meeting him, and they are satisfied too," the official said.
His 83-year-old father, party chief Farooq Abdullah, will likewise continue to be under detention at his residence for the rest of the season.
Kashmir received snowfall earlier than usual this year, and the weather department has predicted a particularly cold winter. The harshest period of the season - termed as the Chillai Kalan - runs for 40 days from December 21 to January 31. The weather remains cold and dry during this time, with frequent bouts of snow and the minimum temperatures settling well below freezing point.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla had justified the clampdown on Jammu and Kashmir before a parliamentary standing committee earlier today, calling it a "necessary move" in anticipation of violence in the region. He also claimed that political leaders such as Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were placed under confinement in view of incendiary statements made against the Union government in the past.
Mr Bhalla went on to say that although all the detained political leaders would be released eventually, the administration cannot provide a time frame because it is still assessing the "ground situation". Farooq Abdullah can appeal against his detention under the Public Safety Act before the high court, he added.
According to the official, the state administration has also received complaints related to the non-availability of non-vegetarian food from other political leaders detained at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre in Srinagar. "We may move them to the MLA hostel sometime soon," he said.