Political leaders contest MHA statement on house arrests in JK

A day after Union Ministry of Home Affairs said that “no political leader is under house arrest” in J&K, several senior Kashmir-based political leaders today contested the statement, saying many of them were not “getting permission for attending party meetings and family functions”.

Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanura on Wednesday while speaking to mediapersons outside the party headquarters said that he had to “give a slip to the security personnel guarding his residence” to attend the first PDP meeting held in over last one year’s time.

The PDP general secretary said: “To be frank enough, for conducting the meeting today we did not seek any permission. In view of the response of MHA in the Parliament yesterday that no leader is under house arrest, I tried to leave my residence today. The security personnel at the main gate tried to stop me but I whisked past them and attended the meeting,” Hanjura claimed.

This shows that despite government of India’s claim that no one is under house arrest, “many of our senior leaders today were not allowed to leave their homes,” Hanjura said.

It may be recalled that three dozen political leaders were detained after August 5, 2019 when Government of India scrapped the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir. Many of these leaders were set free from detention but some of them were put under house arrest.

Peoples Conference president, Sajad Lone said that the party vice-chairman Abdul Gani Vakil who continues to be “under house arrest” was not given the permission to attend his son’s marriage ceremony next week.

“Our vice chairman @gani_vakil  is under house arrest;not allowed to participate in his son’s engagement ceremony & denied permission to participate in his son’s marriage ceremony, slated to take place a few days from now. Yet as per today’s Parliament answer he is a free man (sic),” Lone wrote on Twitter on Tuesday evening.

Earlier , Lone had called the information provided by the government in the Parliament regarding the house arrests in J&K as “sad state of affairs”.

“What a sad state of affairs. Y do they have to do this. If someone is under house arrest. Just say it. Either the state administration is lying to the union Govt or it is the union Govt’s own initiative. We live here. We r telling u. People r under house arrest (sic),” Lone wrote on Twitter.

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Saiffudin Soz told this newspaper that he “remains to be under house arrest”.

Soz said: “Earlier the Supreme Court was misguided by the government by stating that I was set free.”

He said he was hopeful that “ground situation (will) come to fore soon”.

“Last week my lawyer has again approached the Supreme Court and put forth the argument about my continuous house arrest. I hope this time around the truth gets reflected,” Soz said.

It may be recalled that earlier this month National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah had met several party leaders at this residence following which several other meetings of NC leaders took place.

On Wednesday, NC vice-president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said it was a good sign that PDP young wing leaders had held a meeting after more than a year’s time.

“Good to see  @YouthJKPDP make a start with political meetings. Political activities must resume unhindered & the administration is duty bound to ensure a level playing field for all political parties,” Omar wrote on Twitter.