The detention of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti under the Public Safety Act was on Tuesday extended by three months. In a brief order, district magistrate of Srinagar handed over the continuation of her custody at her residence, hours before her present term under the PSA was to expire, reported news agency PTI.
Along with People Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mufti, the detention of PDP leader Sartaj Madani and National Conference leader Ali Mohammad was also extended.
Reacting to this, former J&K CM Omar Abdullah tweeted, "Unbelievably cruel & retrograde decision to extend Mehbooba Mufti’s detention. Nothing she has done or said in any way justifies the way the Indian state has treated her and the others detained. For a government that is making tall claims about normality in J&K the last few days coupled with the extension of Ms Mufti’s detention is proof enough that Modi ji has single-handedly pushed J&K back decades."
She was initially detained on August 5, 2019, when the Centre abrogated special status of the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into two union territories -- Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
Having spent over eight months in detention at two government facilities that were designated as sub-jails, Mufti was shifted to her home on April 7 as a partial relief to her. Mufti heads the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which was in power in Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with the BJP till June 2018.
Initially, she was taken into preventive custody. Later on February 5, 2020, she was slapped with the PSA along with Omar Abdullah, who was released in March. Farooq Abdullah had been released in April. Earlier, Mufti was lodged in a government guesthouse in Chashma Shahi and a bungalow on Maulana Azad Road near Lal Chowk.
Daughter of Mehbooba, Iltija has moved a habeas corpus petition before the Supreme Court in February challenging her mother's detention. A three-judge bench had issued a notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration seeking its response on the plea and posted the matter for a hearing on March 18. However, the petition was not taken up for hearing due to the coronavirus outbreak. Habeas corpus is a writ seeking production of a person supposed to be in illegal detention before a court.