Kashmir Has Become An Open-Air Prison: Mehbooba Mufti’s Daughter Iltija Javed
On Mufti's detention, she said, "Obviously, this is being done to break her spirit."
On the evening of August 5, former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were detained by the police. Already under house arrest, they were moved to a government guest house in Srinagar to prevent “escalating further any law and order situation in Kashmir”. The detention took place hours after the Centre’s move to abrogate Article 370.
Iltija Javed, the daughter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, spoke to several journalists about the detention. Speaking to Zainab Sikander over a voice note, Javed said that she could see no reason for Mufti being placed in detention when she was already under “strict house arrest”.
Mehbooba Mufti ji’s daughter Sana Mufti sent me this voice note.
Sharing it with all of you. pic.twitter.com/0W5bhBk2Dw
— Zainab Sikander (@zainabsikander) August 6, 2019
Javed further added, “Obviously, this is being done to break her spirit.”
She said that there is an “atmosphere of fear” in Jammu and Kashmir at the moment. She criticised the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the Centre, saying, “What the government of India has done is unconstitutional. Just because they enjoy a brute majority, they have exploited loopholes in the law.”
On the abrogation of Article 370, Javed said that the BJP government has taken away Kashmiris’ “special identity”, which as per her was “not a matter of privilege” for Kashmiris, rather a “matter of right”.
Addressing the communications blackout in Jammu and Kashmir, Javed said that Kashmiris were being treated as a “herd of cattle” and that they haven’t been allowed to express their feeling on the Centre’s move to both abrogate Article 370 and to bifurcate the state into two Union Territories. “Sab ko ghar mein aap kitni der band rakhenge?” — how long will you keep everyone locked up in their homes?
She added, “If this was done for the welfare of Kashmiris, why aren’t you allowing them to respond?”
“You (the BJP and it’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) take so much pride in Akhand Bharat,” said, Javed, asking “This is Akhand Bharat? Where marzi aayi to aapne jaldi se yahan pe logon ki civil liberties le ke, curfew impose kar ke unse jo unke haq thhe, wo chheen liye?”
Speaking to Nistula Hebbar of The Hindu, she likened Kashmir to Palestine. She said, “Kashmir itself has become like an open-air prison, we are not being allowed to speak out. Now I know what it is like to be in Palestine.”
“The way this is being projected by the Centre is that the removal of special status is something that is good for Kashmiris. Do you think Kashmiris have such low IQ that they don’t know what is good for them? Or what they want for themselves? Should it have been done so undemocratically?” she asked.