Govt mulls shifting out detainees to another hotel; detention of political prisoners’ at Centaur costs 3 crore to Govt

Srinagar, Oct 28:  Detaining top political leaders in the Centaur Hotel has cost state exchequer Rs three crore in the last 84 days. 

At least 31 leaders of the National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Peoples Conference, and Jammu Kashmir Peoples Movement are under detention at the Centaur Hotel since Centre abrogated the Article 370 and divided the state into two union territories.

 

“For the last 84 days, the Centaur Hotel has charged around Rs 3 crore to the government for lodging political prisoners. The security personnel guarding the political prisoners are also lodged in some rooms,” said a top source.

An official at Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Center (SKICC) said only parents, spouses, and siblings of detainees are being allowed inside to meet the detainees. They, source said, have to get the permission from district magistrate for meeting.

As per the rules, visitors are to be allowed inside twice a week — Wednesdays and Saturdays — between 10 am and 2 pm.  The government has recently released few of the political detainees. The detainees were asked to sign a bond to secure their release which prohibits them from making any statements against abrogation of Article 370.

A top source said Centaur hotel is not renting rooms to other guests because of the security concerns and with the result it has suffered huge losses.

Government has now decided to shift 31 detained political leaders to a local hotel at Shivpora.  “Hotel (Centaur) authorities have been told that political prisoners will stay here for some more days before their shifting to other hotel. The Centaur doesn’t have adequate heating arrangements and the leaders may not be able to bear the cold during winters on the banks of Dal,” the source said. 

Since August 5, the entry to SKICC adjacent to Centaur Hotel has also been blocked.  “No function has been organized at the SKICC since August 5,” an official at SKICC said.

The SKICC has been hosting most of the national and international functions here.

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