PDP holds protest against detention of political leaders

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday held a peaceful protest here against the continued detention of political leaders, including the party President Mehbooba Mufti.

Dozens of the party leaders and workers assembled at party headquarters this morning to stage the protest. The leaders were also demanding “freedom of speech and an end to human rights violations”.

The protestors took out rally from the party headquarters. However, the police swung into action and detained six party leaders.  The leaders who were detained included the party Abdul Hameed Kosheen, Harbaksh Singh, Rouf Bhat, Arif Laigroo, Mushtaq (Kangan) and senior worker Muhammad Umer Dar. The detained leaders were however released later.

Before being whisked away by the police, Bhat, while addressing media persons, said restrictions imposed on free speech were completely unacceptable.

“Politicians are being framed in fake cases and there is a political vendetta being played out against political leadership of the Valley,” said Bhat.

The leaders said they were also concerned about the “human rights violations,” in Kashmir. “We want restoration of our basic rights and an end to the excesses. Every individual should have the right of expression. This is the reason why we are protesting peacefully today,” said Bhat.

The PDP leaders also demanded that Kashmiri youth lodged in jails outside the Valley should be released soon.

Laigroo said; “Our protest is also aimed to demand restoration of the special status of J&K and release of all those detained within and outside the Valley. Our leader Mehbooba Mufti who is under detention without any reason should be released immediately,” Laigroo said.

Even after six PDP leaders were detained by the police, dozens of party workers, who had assembled at the party headquarters held a meeting.

The continued house arrest of several PDP leaders had recently prevented the party from holding its first meeting after more than a year. Several party leaders including former MLA and ex-ministers had been invited to the residence of PDP patron Muzaffar Hussain Beigh on Monday for the meeting. However, the meeting was deferred after authorities did not allow the PDP leaders under house detention to move out, said a PDP leader.