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The Supreme Court did not hear Sara Pilot’s petition challenging the detention of her brother, Omar Abdullah, under the Public Safety Act. It will hear the plea on 17 March now. J&K’s top politicians, including Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been under detention for seven months since Article 370 was diluted. The social media ban in J&K was lifted Wednesday.

ThePrint asks: Why are Kashmiri politicians still in detention when other restrictions have been lifted?


Modi govt should release J&K’s politicians with assurance that they won’t make provocative speeches

Aditya Raj Kaul
Journalist

Seven months since Article 370 was diluted, the removal of the ban on social media brings immense hope for the common people. The ban, put in place for security reasons, drew flak even from the Western media.

The next step should be to release the remaining political leaders so that free and fair elections could be held and the democratic process can be restored. The release should come with an assurance from J&K’s political leaders that they won’t make provocative speeches. After decades of turmoil, Jammu and Kashmir is finally looking at a spring of hope without street violence.

While several challenges remain, J&K’s politicians need to focus on development, transparency and peace. There needs to be a policy audit of the last 30 years to fix responsibility and figure out why the Indian state failed in J&K.

Politicians need to get rid of this notion of a ‘special status’ for Jammu & Kashmir, which should get equal rights as the rest of the country and not be treated differently with any special packages or laws. It is up to Kashmir’s politicians to decide how history should judge them in the years to come.


Omar Abdullah’s reluctance to endorse Article 370 move may have led Modi govt to keep J&K leaders out of public life

Arjimand Hussain
Writer and columnist 

The nullification of Article 370 has resulted in a politically tectonic and constitutionally untenable change in the political status of Jammu and Kashmir. That change has not only bulldozed the moral and legal terms of engagement between the Union of India and Jammu and Kashmir in the post-1947 period but has also put political parties such as the National Conference, the PDP, the People’s Conference and People’s Movement and leaders such as Omar Abdullah in a tricky situation.

On the one hand, the Abdullah family has been treated with disdain by large sections of the Kashmiri population for its perceived inability to safeguard J&K’s political autonomy and, on the other hand, the successive governments in Delhi have made their position even more suspect in the eyes of their primary political constituencies.

The Modi government seems to be expecting Omar Abdullah and other important J&K leaders to reconcile with and, even, endorse the dilution of Article 370 and the altered status of J&K. But the question is, what has a political leader like him to offer to the people of J&K?

It is possible that Omar’s reluctance to endorse the Modi government’s decision of 5 August made it want to pressure him and keep him and other leaders such as Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Sajjad Lone and Shah Faesal out of public life.

But it is a foregone conclusion that this situation is unsustainable, and sooner or later, Delhi will have to talk to these leaders on terms that will be acceptable to the people of J&K.


Detentions are another move of political disempowerment that will lead Kashmir into a troublesome future

Khalid Shah
Associate Fellow, ORF

Kashmir’s politicians are still under detention because of political vendetta. The Narendra Modi government seems to be really offended by the statements that some of these leaders have made in the recent months, including personal criticism of the home minister and the prime minister.

Media reports have said that the decision to release the detainees lies with the ‘political leadership’ and it isn’t a security call.

The other reason is that the Modi government wants to impose a new political mainstream in Jammu and Kashmir. Former J&K finance minister Altaf Bukhari is reportedly going to launch a new political party. The government wants to give Bukhari an open field where he can take over the political space left vacant since the detention of National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party leaders.

The other thing to look at is the effects of these detentions. There is no political activity in J&K right now, so democracy remains suspended. The Modi government wants leaders to engage in politics on the terms and conditions set by the BJP. Farooq Abdullah, an elected MP, has not been able to attend Parliament — what does it say about the Indian democracy?

The government wants to end the political careers of the Abdullahs and the Muftis. It will be wise to let the people of Kashmir decide these leaders’ political future. Detentions of political leaders such as Sheikh Abdullah in the Valley have had disastrous consequences in the past. We are witnessing another move of political disempowerment that will lead us into a troublesome future.


Modi govt must convince people of J&K why it has detained leaders who were a link between Delhi and Kashmir

Noor Ahmed Baba
Retired professor, Central University of Kashmir

I think it’s the people in Delhi closer to the corridors of power who should answer this question. For us and any common person in Kashmir, things look very strange. These are the leaders, the ones who have been detained, who were a bridge between Kashmir and Delhi and who also represented India internationally.

Omar Abdullah represented India in the world forum when he was the Minister of State for External Affairs during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. His father and J&K former chief minister Farooq Abdullah also represented India at different levels. He was a part of the Vajpayee-led delegation at the United Nations.

Despite this, the present government in Delhi has put these politicians behind bars and slapped the PSA on them, which was originally meant for criminals. This needs explanation. The reasons the government have given don’t seem to be really convincing. Now, it is the duty of the judiciary to protect the fundamental rights of people.

For us to understand the political intricacies in Delhi is more difficult because of our insufficient access to political developments outside J&K. The government needs to convince the people of Jammu and Kashmir about the genuineness of its actions.


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9 Comments Share Your Views

9 COMMENTS

  1. kashmiris are backward people, wearing burqa compulsory, circumcision of female private area, female infanticide, polygamy, camel pishab drinking, this type of stone age people need mental health , secularism is for seculars, these are backward sub humans whose only logic in life is, if its a non-muslim, it must be bad.

  2. These politicians were all crooks who were hand in gloves with the terrorists and siphoning the government money at the same time. It helps to keep terrorists at bay and to maintain discipline.

  3. Doval should also detain those columnists, and journalists, and politicians, who Quonset the abrogation of the article 370. And that should include this paper as well.

  4. WITH THESE POLITICIANS LOCKED UP IF THERE IS PEACE IN J&K WHAT IS WRONG IN KEEPING THEM LOCKED UP ?
    WHEN DID WE HAVE PEACE IN J&K FOR 7 MONTHS THE LAST TIME? THE STATEMENTS OF ALL THESE LEADERS WERE NOT JUST PROACTIVE BUT THREATENING.
    THEY WERE RULING THE STATE DURING AFTER THE ETHNIC CLEANSING IN THE VALLEY. ALL OF THEM WERE CONSPIRATORS OTHERWISE THEY WOULD HAVE NOT JUST SAT QUIETLY. NO EFFORT WAS MADE TO STOP THE ETHNIC CLEANSING NOR ANY ACTION INITIATED AGAINST THE PERPETRATORS. ALONG WITH THEM SOME CONGRESS LEADERS NEED TO BE LOCKED UP AS WELL.
    THEY ARE NOT PART OF THE RESTRICTIONS BUT THE CAUSE OF RESTRICTIONS.

  5. The political effects / consequences of 5th August do not appear to have been thought through. At the best of times, the mainstream politicians were trusted even less by the people of the Valley than they were by the present government, although it has been in alliance with them for the limited purpose of sharing power. There was a vacuum – sometimes euphemistically called alienation – filled in by an assortment of personages even less wholesome from Delhi’s point of view. By neutering those who swore by the a Constitution, a very uncertain situation has been created. Any released mainstream politician who speaks in favour of the changed constitutional position would be dead on arrival. The pygmies who are being promoted would not be trusted by their own shadows. No friendly country endorses these changes, although their public statements have been measured, muted.

    • Trump called me (shri ashok JI) up and told me that he had no choice but to be muted in response. Elizabeth Warren told me she is quitting the presidential race in protest. As a result I am migrating to China. It is a much better country. Pakistan is my next choice.

  6. Let them stay in detention for a decade or two until they become irrelevant and a new generation of politicians and India-centric politics takes root in J&K. These worthies have done enough damage and amassed enough illegal wealth. Only antinationals would shed a tear for them.

  7. They are being investigated for the atrocities of 1990 on Kashmiri Pandits.Everyone knows their involvement in the same.They should be all in Tihar instead of House Arrest.

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