Police denies, says she was requested to postpone her visit
Srinagar: Kashmir is an “open air prison where no one has the right to express their opinion”, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said on Friday after the authorities barred her from holding a press conference at her residence here where she was allegedly placed under house arrest in the morning.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said she was not allowed to visit the Pulwama residence of party leader Waheed Parra who was arrested by the NIA earlier this week.
“Press has been barred from entering my residence in Srinagar. This despite no written orders explaining my arbitrary detention. Kashmir is an open air prison where no one has the right to express their opinion,” Mufti said on Twitter.
She accused the administration of using fear and intimidation to muffle any form of opposition just a day before the commencement of the District Development Council (DDC) polls.
“We are one day away from DDC polling & its evident that the admin here is using fear & intimidation in tandem to muffle any form of opposition,” she said in a tweet.
A posse of policemen stopped journalists about 100 metres away from Mufti’s ‘Fairview’ residence in Gupkar area of the city here, where she was scheduled to address the media.
The police said the presser of the PDP president was not allowed as per the orders from the higher ups.
Mufti had invited journalists for the press conference this morning after she was allegedly put under house arrest.
The former chief minister said she was not allowed for the last two days to meet the family of the party’s youth leader Waheed Parra who was arrested by the NIA. She said Parra was arrested on baseless charges .
“I’ve been illegally detained yet again. Since two days, J&K admin has refused to allow me to visit @parawahid’s family in Pulwama. BJP Ministers & their puppets are allowed to move around in every corner of Kashmir but security is a problem only in my case,” Mufti said in a tweet in the morning.
The PDP president said her daughter was also put under house arrest.
Their cruelty knows no bounds. Waheed was arrested on baseless charges & I am not allowed to even console his family. Even my daughter Iltija has been placed under house arrest because she also wanted to visit Waheed’s family, she said.
Reacting to the alleged detention, National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah said personal liberty was being treated as a favour by the government that gives and withdraws it at will, while the judiciary does not interfere.
In a communication posted by Mufti on her official twitter handle, Additional Director General of Police and Director Special Security Group (SSG) S D Singh sought rescheduling of the proposed visit of the former chief minister to the Naira village on the demand of the Pulwama district police.
The Pulwama Police sought the rescheduling of her programme citing that neither an anti-sabotage check nor a proper route sanitisation had been done as the entire manpower was committed for other election related operation duties.
Jammu and Kashmir is all set for the maiden District Development Council (DDC) polls and by-elections to the panchayat and urban local bodies, scheduled to be held in eight phases beginning November 28.
Parra was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday for allegedly seeking help from Hizbul Mujahideen terror group in seeking their support in the 2019 Parliamentary elections in which Mufti was the PDP candidate.
Mufti had sought security clearance for her visit to the residence of Parra at Naira village on Friday to meet his family.
NC vice president Omar Abdullah accused the Jammu and Kashmir administration of treating personal liberty as a favour.
“Parking a truck in front of our gates is now standard operating procedure for this admin. They did the same to my father recently to stop him from praying. Personal liberty is treated as a favour by the govt, to give & withdraw at will, with no interference from the judiciary,” Abdullah wrote on Twitter.
His father and NC president Farooq Abdullah was on October 30 prevented from leaving his residence to offer prayers at Hazratbal shrine on the occasion of Eid-Milad-un-Nabi.
Police, however, said that Mufti was only “requested to postpone her visit to south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
“PDP leader Ms Mehbooba Mufti is not under house arrest. She was requested to postpone her visit to Pulwama purely due to security reasons, ” Kashmir Zone Police tweeted this afternoon. PTI