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States » North

Mainstream leaders remain detained, govt announce Panchayat polls

Mainstream leaders remain detained, govt announce Panchayat polls

Srinagar, Jan 18 (UNI) Three former chief ministers (CMs) and several heads of different mainstream political parties remained under detention in the Kashmir valley, where government has announced election for vacant panchayat seats.

Polling in eight phases will be held next month for all vacant panchayat seats in Jammu and Kashmir and process of issuing of poll notification has already been started.

Majority of these leaders, including three ex CMs—Dr Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti—and several dozens of other leaders were detained on August 5, when the Centre scrapped Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. However, about 30 leaders, including former ministers and legislators, were released after they gave an undertaking that they will not raise the issue of abrogation of special status of the state.

Dr Abdullah, president of the National Conference (NC), vice-president Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba president Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar and Peoples Movement chief Dr Shah Faesal have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).

Over 300 leaders, mostly separatists and stone-pelters, have also been arrested under PSA in the valley since the imposition of Governor and later President's rule after PDP-BJP, headed by Mehbooba, collapsed when the saffron party withdrew from the alliance in June 2019.

However, over 30 leaders, including former ministers and legislators, were released after they gave in writing that they will not raise the issue of scrapping of abrogation of special status of the erstwhile state after their release.

Official sources said that PSA was slapped on Dr Faesal who heads Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM).

These leaders have refused to sign a affidavit that they will not raise the issue of special status of the state.

Omar Abdullah’s detention has been challenged in the Supreme Court by his sister. The Apex court has fixed next date of hearing on March 2 after issuing notice to Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory (UT) administration.

Peoples Conference (PC) chairman Sajjad Gani Lone, who was a minister in PDP-BJP coalition government from the saffron party quota was released from Sub jail and later put under house arrest recently.

There are still about 13 former ministers and legislators detained in Sub jail MLA hostel. The leaders under detention since August 5 included former minister Naeem Akhtar, who was also chief spokesperson of PDP-BJP coalition government.

A large number of separatist leaders, including spokespersons of both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC), JKLF chief Mohammad Yaseen Malik, Democratic Freedom Party (DPF) Shabir Ahmad Shah besides Kashmir Bar Association (KBA) Mian Abdul Qayoum also remained under detention. Majority of them are detained in Delhi’s jail and other state prisons.


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