Srinagar: Iltija Mufti, the daughter of incarcerated Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) resident Mehbooba Mufti, on Thursday said she was put under house arrest by the J&K police after she tried to visit southern Kashmir.
Iltija said she was planning to visit the grave of her grandfather and former chief minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, at Bijbehara in Anantnag district to offer prayers when the police barred her from leaving her residence at Gupkar road in Srinagar.
Sayeed, who was the chief minister of PDP-BJP alliance for a year, died on January 7, 2016 after a prolonged illness.
“I sought permission from the authorities at around 11 am today to visit Bijbehara, but I was put under detention,” Iltija, an SSG protectee told The Wire. “Then, I tried to move in a private car but I was not allowed out of our house. They even didn’t allow me to call a press conference.”
According to Iltija, a police officer at the level of deputy inspector told her that she could not leave. “Is it a crime to visit my grandfather’s grave under the new constitution and new system?” she said. “They are just being paranoid.”
The additional director general of J&K police (law and order) Muneer Khan, however, rejected Iltija’s claims, and told The Wire that she has not been placed put under house arrest.
Iltija has made headlines for her criticism of the government of India for its handling of Kashmir since August 5 when parliament scrapped Article 370 of Indian constitution and bifurcated the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.
The 34-year-old daughter of Mehbooba Mufti has been using her mother’s Twitter account to frequently express her views on the political development and detention of Kashmir politicians.
Mehbooba is among three former chief ministers and more than two dozen politicians who have been placed under detention since August 5.
With Mehbooba and senior party leaders in detention, the PDP has planned a low-key programme on January 7 to observe the death anniversary of Sayeed.
While it intends to observe the main function at Sayeed’s grave in Bijbehara, a separate event is also scheduled at the PDP headquarters in Srinagar.
The party has formally sought permission from the administration for holding the events. “We have sought permission from the divisional commissioner Kashmir, but so far there has been no response from the government side,” said party’s general secretary, youth wing, Nazir Ahmad Yatoo.
Iltija said they were not expecting the government to allow them to visit Sayeed’s graveyard on January 7. “It seems clear now,” she said.
On December 5, the J&K authorities had disallowed some members of Abdullah family to visit the grave of National Conference founder and first prime minister of J&K, Sheikh Abdullah.
The authorities imposed Section 144 around Sheikh’s mausoleum located on the banks of Dal Lake at Hazratbal to disallow the assembly of people.
J&K is reeling under the political uncertainty as the top leadership of both National Conference and PDP, Chairman Peoples Conference Sajad Lone and bureaucrat-turned politician Shah Faesal have been under detention for months.
While parties have been seeking the release of their leaders and demanding that they should be allowed to visit districts and resume political activities, there has been no word from the government on freeing political detainees yet.