Says Mehbooba in Anantnag: ‘Lift ban on JeI, release its members’
Srinagar, Mar 6: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday held a protest in Anantnag, demanding revocation of the recent ban against the socio-religious group, Jamaat-e-Islami. Mehbooba led a protest in Khanabal area in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district demanding lifting of the ban and release of Jamaat leaders and activists. Amid sloganeering by PDP party workers, Mehbooba said, “In my two years of governance, we never banned any outfit, neither arrested their leaders.” Explaining the peace-building gestures by her party, she said, “Instead, we initiated a ceasefire for one month, revoked 14,000 FIRs, and sacked two BJP ministers for their controversial comments.” Referring to BJP she said, “Till PDP was in power, we reined them in. Now that they have broken the alliance, look at the condition of the valley. There is a war-like situation, followed by arbitrary bans and raids. It is unfortunate that a ban is being imposed on JeI leaders and the properties are sealed.” Mehbooba warned she would intensify her protest if the ban is not lifted. “Our imams and moulvis are being arrested. 70 and 80-year-olds are being jailed. Offices of JeI have been sealed. Members of Ahl-e-Hadith ideology are also being jailed. PDP is protesting against all this. We will not allow this muscle power. “We will protest at district level and then in every (assembly) segment. We want the ban to be revoked and these elderly people be released. Also, people should be told what their crime is, what is the charge that they face, what is the evidence on the basis of which they have been jailed,” the PDP president said. The activists and top members of JeI, which has done exceptionally well in setting up a chain of over 300 schools and other social welfare groups, were recently dealt with an iron hand by the governments of J&K and India. Over 200 of JeI members and activists were arrested in a matter of few days. The organisation was eventually banned by the government of India on February 28 for allegedly having close ties with militant outfits. A notification, banning the group under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs after a high-level meeting on security, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.