Sunday, September 19, 2021

‘Kashmiris caged like animals’: Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter writes to Centre

New Delhi, August 16: In a strongly-worded letter to Home Minister Amit Shah, daughter of former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said, “Kashmiris have been caged like animals and deprived of basic human rights.”
Sana Iltija Javed claimed she had been threatened “with dire consequences” if she speaks up again. The daughter has given several interviews and released voice messages, including to Hindustan Times, since Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were taken into custody on August 4, a day before the government effectively removed Article 370 which gave Jammu and Kashmir its special status.
“Today while the rest of the country celebrates India’s Independence Day, Kashmiris have been caged like animals and deprived of basic human rights,” she wrote in the letter addressed to Amit Shah.
It was, however, never sent across. She explained. “Apologies for not posting this letter but as you’re aware postal services in Jammu and Kashmir have been suspended,” the letter said.
Sana Iltija Javed said she was not allowed to step out of her home and asked for an explanation for her alleged detention.
“Unfortunately, for reasons best known to you, I also have been placed under detention at my residence. We are not even told when visitors are turned away from the gate and I am not allowed to step out either. Odd, since I am not affiliated to any political party and have always been a law abiding citizen,” she said in a letter that was released to the media, along with a voice message.
Doesn’t a citizen of the “world’ largest democracy,” have the right to speak up in the “face of unimaginable repression,” Iltija asked, adding, “It’s a tragic irony that I am being treated like a war criminal for stating the inconvenient truth,” she said.
“I am being treated like a criminal and I am under constant surveillance. I fear for my life along with those Kashmiris who have spoken up,” Iltija said in the audio message.
Saying it was suffocating and humiliating to be treated in this manner, she wanted to know under which law she had been detained. “Does it warrant a detention to describe our plight? I’d be most obliged If you could kindly throw light on the laws under which I’ve been detained and for how long? Do I need to seek legal recourse?” she wrote in the letter. She has been confined to her home in Srinagar, Fairview
In an interaction with Hindustan Times last week,Sana Iltija Javed had questioned the Centre’s clampdown on Kashmiris and asked why she wasn’t allowed to meet anyone. “Why are they scared of a young woman who has nothing to do with politics? Do we have no rights and liberties?” she asked in one of several voice messages she exchanged with Hindustan Times.
Kashmir has been under strict curfew since the midnight of August 4, when mainstream leaders were placed under house arrest and all communications blocked. The following morning, home minister Amit Shah announced the dramatic revocation of Article 370 and tabled the Reorganisation Bill that converted the former state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories. (Courtesy: HT)