Srinagar: Shortly after she was released from a 14-month-long detention, former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday evening said that people of J&K have to “strive to restore J&K special status snatched from it unconstitutionally, illegally, and undemocratically” on August 5 last year.
In an audio message she uploaded on her official Twitter handle, which until now was run by her daughter Iltija, Mehbooba said: “I have been released after more than year. During this time, the dark decision taken on the dark day of August 5 was always piercing my heart and mind. I am sure that the people of J&K too must have been feeling the same way.”
Mehbooba Mufti was released late Tuesday evening and the PSA against her revoked, after being detained for over a year since the eve of the centre scrapping Article 370.
“No one among us can forget the robbery and humiliation we faced that day. Now we all have to be determined in getting back our special status that was unconstitutionally, undemocratically, and illegally snatched away from us,” she said in the message, her first communication with general public since she was placed under detention last year.
“Along with it, we have to keep up with the struggle for resolving Kashmir issue for which thousands have laid down their lives. I know that this path is not easy, but I believe that our determination and courage will help us tread it. Today, as I have been released, I want that the people of J&K who are detained in different jails of the country too should be freed immediately,” she added.
Earlier in the evening, J&K Government Spokesperson, Rohit Kansal announced the decision on Twitter of releasing Mehbooba Mufti
Minutes after her release was confirmed, Mehbooba’s daughter, Iltija tweeted: “As Ms Mufti’s illegal detention finally comes to an end, Id like to thank everybody who supported me in these tough times. I owe a debt of gratitude to you all. This is Iltija signing off. May allah protect you”.
Almost exactly one year ago Iltija Mufti took over her mother’s Twitter account and has been campaigning fiercely for her release.
“Ms Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister J&K to whom this twitter handle belongs has been detained since 5th August 2019 without access to the account. This handle is now operated by myself, Iltija daughter of Ms Mufti with due authorisation,” she posted on September 20.
Mehbooba’s release comes just as the deadline set by the Supreme Court was set to expire.
NC vice president and former chief minister, Omar Abdullah reacted to the development on Twitter.
“I’m pleased to hear that @MehboobaMufti Sahiba has been released after more than a year in detention. Her continued detention was a travesty & was against the basic tenets of democracy. Welcome out Mehbooba,” Omar tweeted.
The official order revoking the PSA against Mehbooba Mufti read: “..the government hereby revokes the detention order … dated 5-2-2020 issued by the district magistrate, Srinagar which was last extended for a period of three months…of Mehbooba Mufti D/o Late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed R/o /Bijbehara at present Nowgam Srinagar with immediate effect.”
In September, the court questioned the central government and the J&K administration over her detention, asking them: “How long can Mehbooba Mufti be kept in custody?”
The top court today gave two weeks’ time to the Jammu and Kashmir administration to give its stand on how long Mehbooba can be kept in custody and whether her custody can be extended beyond one year.
Mehbooba was among hundreds of people detained in 2019 to prevent protests against the Government of India’s move to divest J&K of its special status through the nullification of the Constitution’s Article 370 and to divide state into two Union territories.