Iltija Javed, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, hit out today at reports that three Kashmiri politicians detained since the centre withdrew Article 370 on August 5 were forced to sign bonds to maintain peace and good behaviour before being released. In two strongly-worded tweets, the former Chief Minister's daughter, whose mother is among hundreds still detained, said Ms Mufti had "categorically refused" to sign similar documents.
"Reports say detainees released today were forced to sign bonds. Under what law is their release conditional as their detention was illegal itself? Many including Ms Mufti have categorically refused to sign these bonds," she tweeted, adding, "The government with its rudderless approach is tying itself in knots".
The three leaders released are Yawar Mir, a former MLA from Mehbooba Mufti's PDP, Shoiab Lone, a North Kashmir candidate who contested unsuccessfully on a Congress ticket, and Noor Mohammed, a National Conference worker from Srinagar's Batmaloo neighbourhood.
Reports say detainees released today were forced to sign bonds.Under what law is their release conditional as their detention was illegal itself? Many including Ms Mufti have categorically refused to sign these bonds. The govt with its rudderless approach is tying itself in knots— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) October 10, 2019
Last week Farooq Khan, advisor to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, said political leaders in Kashmir would be released in a phased manner. The announcement came a day after leaders from Jammu were released.
Around 400 political leaders of the state - including former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, 83, who was detained under the strict Public Safety Act, and his son Omar Abdullah, as well as Ms Mufti - were placed under detention or house arrest in August as the government announced its move to end special status granted to the state under the Article 370 and bifurcate it into two Union Territories.
The detentions and arrests were part of stringent security measures, including the snapping of phone and internet services, which drew protests from the international community and prompted the United Nations and the United States to voice their concerns.
Iltija Javed, who took over her mother's Twitter account after she was detained, has frequently targeted the centre over the situation in Kashmir, demanding the release of political leaders and the restoration of democracy in the state.
"A democratic India that always fought for principles of liberty & equality is today being questioned & castigated for its brutal actions in Kashmir internationally. Governments will come & go but what about the damage done to the reputation & moral fabric of this country?" she tweeted today.
In August, Iltija Javed wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah expressing concern over her mother's health. Challenging the legality of the detentions, she wrote: "Kashmiris have been caged like animals and deprived of basic human rights."
Over the last weeks, life has been slowly returning to normal in Kashmir. While some restrictions are still in place in some pockets, traffic has been heavy on the roads of Srinagar. All the markets, though, are yet to open and attendance in schools are yet to return to normal, say locals.
Earlier this week, it was announced that polling for over 300 Block Development Councils will be held on October 24 and counting will take place on the same day. Around 26,000 panchayat members are eligible to vote.