Mehbooba Mufti Says She Has Been Placed Under 'Illegal Detention' Yet Again

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said she was planning to go to Budgam and meet families of forest dwellers who had been evicted when she was not allowed to leave her residence.

Srinagar: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti has alleged that she has once again been put under house arrest at her Gupkar residence ahead of her proposed visit to meet familes of a tribal community that have been evicted.

Mehbooba Mufti, while told The Wire that she wanted to meet the families who have been evicted by the authorities in “this harsh chill and winters”, including a 108-year-old woman. “But as I tried to move out of my residence, I was not allowed to do so,” she said.

Earlier, on her official Twitter handle, Mehbooba Mufti wrote, “Illegal detention has become GOIs favourite go to method for muzzling any form of opposition. Ive (sic) been detained once again because I wanted to visit Budgam where hundreds of families were evicted from their homes.”

“GOI wants to continue inflicting oppression & zulm (atrocities) on the people of J&K without any questions asked,” she added in another tweet.

She was referring to the action by forest department officials to chop down apple trees in Budgam. The officials had claimed that a large chunk of forest land was illegally encroached by locals, which includes traditional forest dwellers (Kashmiri speaking people) and Scheduled Tribe gujjars, according to the Greater Kashmir.

In a recent press conference, when The Wire asked state election commissioner K.K. Sharma about Mufti’s frequent detention, he had said, “Mehbooba Mufti is a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and needs proper protection. There is a protocol in place for the movement of former chief ministers.”

Mufti did not sound convinced about this reasoning. She said, “On the one hand, BJP politicians are given full security cover and other facilities to undertake a journey of their choice to every nook and corner of the valley. When it comes to me, I am being placed under house arrest. All the time, they say ‘upar se order hai‘ (we have an order from the higher ups).

Mufti also criticised the eviction of tribal families, saying the communities have lived in those places for hundreds of years.

Earlier on November 27, Mufti had claimed she was “illegally detained yet again”. She alleged that her daughter Iltija had also been placed under house arrest.

However, the police later denied her claims.

The residence of Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti. Photo: Jahangir Sofi/The Wire

When The Wire asked Mufti if she was being selectively targeted when it comes to her programmes or events, the former chief minsiter said, “I don’t know why they are doing this to me. Every time the SP comes, she says ‘orders have come from higher ups’. I don’t know who is giving these orders.”

“Whenever I propose any programme, it is more likely that permission will not be given citing ‘security’ as an excuse. When I say I will use private transportation, they start detaining me and lock the gates,” said Mehbooba Mufti.

In a video that Mufti had uploaded along with her tweet, she can be seen requesting the security forces to allow her to go out or produce the warrant for her house arrest.

However, there was no official confirmation from the authorities on her detention or arrest.

In November, Mufti was able to visit South Kashmir, where she met some nomadic families in Pahalgam who were evicted from their homes in the forests by the government.