Jammu: Demanding immediate release of youths arrested in the past few days, People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti Thursday condemned the state government for its “intolerance” and said Kashmir “has been virtually converted into a prison”.
Intervening during the Question Hour in the Assembly, she said, “Kashmir has been virtually converted into a prison where only the government and its apologists enjoy freedom…
There is a genuine sense of alienation among the people as teenagers are arrested under draconian laws and the place has been virtually handed over to police and security forces.”
PDP MLA Nizamuddin referred to the arrests of several boys by the Bandipore police, and said one of them had been booked under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act and two had been sent to a juvenile detention centre because their age was below 13 years.
Mehbooba said the imprisonment of teenagers, who should have been in school, was the real poster of the present government’s performance.
She said there was sense of anger in Kashmir, and even the liberal section of the society felt that Afzal Guru had been wronged by picking him out of the death roll from 28th number to fit into the political strategy of the ruling party.
She said subsequent relief by the Supreme Court granted to the convicts whose execution has been commuted has further deepened the feeling of anger and discrimination.
“Instead of trying to empathise with the public sentiment the state government let loose its might on mourners who wanted to express sympathy with Guru’s family,” said Mehbooba.
She said the government had lost the argument on human rights violation and “the moral courage to engage with our own people”. “It has tried to inflict a peace of graveyard on Kashmir through draconian laws, arrests, persecution… which has stopped evolution of a democratic culture in the state,” the PDP leader said.