Mehbooba Mufti moved to ‘warmer’ makeshift jail in Srinagar

Mufti’s daughter, Iltija, had warned that the government of India would be responsible if anything untoward happened to her mother.

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti, was on Thursday evening shifted to a government-owned bungalow along Srinagar’s Moulana Azad Road from a makeshift prison in the foothills of Zabarwan here where she had been lodged since August 5.

The official and PDP sources said that Mufti has been shifted to 5 Moulana Azad Road which is equipped with better heating and other facilities. The premises are being declared a ‘subsidiary jail’, official sources said.

As the Valley is reeling under biting cold following heavy snowfall and rains for past week, the authorities had come under criticism at continuing to hold Mufti at a place not equipped with proper heating arrangement.

Mufti’s daughter, Iltija, had recently expressed displeasure and concern over what she had said were poor heating facilities available to her mother at the makeshift jail in the Chashmashahi area at the foothills of Zabarwan.

She had warned that the government of India would be responsible if anything untoward happened to her mother.

Days after her detention along with hundreds of other mainstream politicians on August 4 ahead of the Centre’s stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and splitting it into two Union territories, 60-year-old Mufti was shifted to a tourism cottage in Chashmashahi from the nearby Hari Nivas guesthouse. Like ‘Hari Nivas’ the tourism cottage too had been declared a ‘subsidiary jail.’ ltija said that she had asked for sufficient space with proper sunlight and basic facilities for her mother.

“My mother has been shifted to House Number 5 along Moulana Azad Road. I haven’t seen the new place and, therefore, can’t say whether it is adequate and properly equipped,” she said.

Also under detention for more than 14 weeks now are two other former chief ministers of J&K, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, and hundreds other political leaders and activists, trade union leaders and civil society activists.

While senior Abdullah has been incarcerated under J&K’s stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), others including Mufti are detained under Sections 107/151 CrPC, the provision under which a person can be detained if the authorities perceive him or her to be a threat to peace.

Omar Abdullah continues to be lodged in Hari Nivas whereas his father has been detained in his home along Srinagar's Gupkar Road which again has been declared a ‘subsidiary jail.’ Most other detainees are lodged in the Centaur Lakeview Hotel on the banks of Dal lake here.

Official sources said that the government is contemplating shifting several other politicians to ‘warmer’ places in the coming days.

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