Srinagar: The former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was detained under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA) last week, has been charged with “glorifying” militancy and “promoting” separatism in Kashmir.
The PSA dossier against Mehbooba, accessed by The Wire, also lists out her stand against the Centre’s scrapping of J&K’s special status, support for the banned socio-religious organisation, Jamaat-e-Islamia, and critical remarks against the Centre, which the document says have the potential to trigger violence beyond Kashmir.
The dossier describes Mehbooba as a “hard headed” and “scheming person.” “The actions of the subject range from speeches glorifying militants…and there have many occasions when the subject promoted separatism,” it reads, pointing to “several confidential and secret reports of very serious nature” prepared by the agencies.
Mehbooba, who is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, was in preventive detention under section 107 of CrPc since August 5 last year, when the Centre scrapped J&K’s special status and imposed restrictions in the Valley.
She was booked under the PSA, a law under which a person can be detained without a trial for up to two years, on February 5 – the day her preventive detention was to end.
The dossier says that for her “dangerous and insidious machination and usurping nature”, Mehbooba is referred to as “Daddy’s girl” and “Kota Rani” by people. A 14th-century queen of Kashmir, Kota Rani “rose to power by virtue of undertaking intrigues ranging from poisoning of her opponents.”
The dossier refers to Mehbooba’s political journey and talks about “incidents” in the past 10 years where she “indulged in inciting violence”, leading to disturbance in the public order.
There is, however, no mention of any incident.
“The subject having a history of making provocative speeches and charged statements leading to incitement of violence on several occasion in her political career is a potential threat to maintenance of public order in view of the prevalent security scenario,” reads the dossier, terming Mehbooba a “vocal voice” against the Centre’s dilution of Articles 370 and 35A.
The dossier also mentions her tweets in the run-up to the dilution of Article 370 where she said the move “hasn’t just made the accession null and void and also reduces India to an occupation force in J&K.”
The dossier talks about her “communal and divisive” mindset, quoting another tweet, where she said that the “government of India’s intention is clear and sinister as they wanted to change the demography of the only Muslim majority state in India, disempower Muslims to the extent where they become 2nd class citizens in their own state.”
“A political leader in 21st century so brazenly inciting religion to divide the people that too in an area with sensitive security situation/eco system is indeed a potential threat for maintenance of public order. Such appeals and statements have potential of disturbing public order to an extent leading to massive loss to public life and property. This can also trigger violence in other regions of the country…,” reads the dossier.
It also mentions tweets, where Mehbooba, whose party was an ally of the BJP in the J&K government till June 2018, called for “dignity to militants after death” and accused the Army of “using chemical weapons against them”.
Her opposition to the highway blockade in Kashmir in 2019, following a deadly fidayeen attack by a Jaish-e-Muhammad militant on a CRPF convoy in February that year, in which 40 troopers were killed, is also a part of the dossier.
“The subject has been stoking gullible masses so as to create issues of disturbance in public order and demoralising security forces by making unscrupulous statement vis-à-vis security exercises being undertaken for safety and security of common people,” the dossier says.
The PDP chief’s opposition to the Triple Talaq Act, which she had termed as “undue interference seemingly to punish Muslims and demonise them” and her criticism of the Central government over cases of lynching are some of the other charges against her.
“Her [Mehbooba’s] divisive approach and potential and its spill over to other parts of the country,” according to the dossier, is reflected in her statement where she said: “(I) fail to understand the need to pass the Triple Talaq Bill especially since the Supreme Court has already declared it illegal. Undue interference seemingly to punish Muslims. Given the current state of economy should this really have been a priority?”
There are charges against the PDP as well in the dossier which describes the party as “dubious”. “The genesis and the approach of the Peoples Democratic Party has been of a dubious nature,” it reads.
The dossier says the PDP has borrowed its election symbol – Ink and Pot – from the Muslim United Front which participated in the 1987 assembly elections in J&K.
“The green flag of the party reflects its radical origin,” mentions the dossier.
The making of Mehbooba Mufti
A law graduate and mother of two girls, Mehbooba began her political career in the shadow of her father, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, in the Congress in 1996 when she contested and won the assembly election from her home constituency of Bijbehara in south Kashmir.
She went on to play a major role in her father’s victory as the Congress candidate from South Kashmir in the 1998 LS polls. But a major shift in her political career came in 1999 when Sayeed quit the Congress and floated the PDP. Mehbooba was among the handful of people who had committed themselves to realise Sayeed’s dream.
Within three years of its launch, the PDP rose to form a coalition government with the Congress in 2002, bagging 16 seats in the assembly. Two years later she won the Lok Sabha election from South Kashmir.
In the 2008 state election polls, the party raised its tally to 21 seats in the 87-member assembly under Mehbooba’s leadership. She returned to the erstwhile state assembly from Shopian’s Wachi constituency. However, it was the 2014 elections that constituted a watershed moment in the party’s history – it emerged as the single largest party, bagging 28 seats.
In March 2015, following three months of negotiations, Sayeed decided to form a government with the BJP, a move that dented a blow to the party’s popularity in the Valley. PDP soon became the target of people’s ire.
Mehbooba assumed a central role after Sayeed’s demise on January 7, 2016. J&K came under the governor’s rule as Mehbooba refused to take oath as the next chief minister immediately, demanding some state-specific measures from the Centre.
It was Mehbooba’s “positive” meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 23 that year that brought the alliance back on track, paving the way for Mehbooba to become the first woman chief minister of J&K on April 4.
But her stint was cut short by the BJP in June 2018 when the party pulled out of the alliance with the PDP, bringing an abrupt end to her 22-month old government. Her tenure saw a six-month-long uprising in 2016, in which more than 100 people were killed and more than 2,000 were hit by pellet guns by forces in action, blinding many victims – fully or partially.