In an amateurish and surprisingly juvenile act, the Home Ministry appears to have allowed some bizarre reasons to be cited for detaining political leaders in Jammu & Kashmir, including three former chief ministers. The world will not be amused.
As Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti acknowledged, her mother’s detention papers cite the PDP flag being green as one of the reasons for her detention. She is also described as ‘ daddy’s girl’ , hard headed and scheming. Ironically, as she points out, the BJP had formed a government in alliance with PDP, had agreed to a common agenda and Prime Minister Modi had praised her and said that Mehbooba talked about the development of the state in every meeting with him, and that it was bound to happen when the CM had such a line of thought.
Senior National Conference leader Ali Mohammed Sagar’s capacity to convince people to vote in elections has been listed as a ground for his detention under the Public Safety Act, which allows authorities to detain people without any charge.
“Your capacity can be gauged from this fact that you were able to convince your electorates to come out and vote in huge numbers even during the peak of the militancy and poll boycotts,” reads the PSA dossier against Sagar,
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been detained apparently because "despite the fact that the subject has been a mainstream politician, he has been planning his activities against the Union of India under the guise of politics. And while enjoying the support of gullible masses, he has been successful in execution of such activities".
The dossier on Mehbooba Mufti reads, ‘The subject is referred for her dangerous & insidious machinations & usurping profile & nature as ‘Daddy’s girl’.
However, the MHA lets the cat out of the bag by admitting that the real reason for the detention of these leaders is their refusal to give an undertaking that they would not speak against the Centre and scrapping of Article 370—an issue pending before the Supreme Court.
On Sunday, Iltija Mufti issued a point-by-point rebuttal to the grounds cited for detaining her mother.
1. PSA due to detenu’s reluctance to sign a bond that no statement against scrapping of Article 370 will be made
•But BJP can exploit Article 370 especially in election campaigns including Delhi but those most affected by it cannot utter a word. Why is BJP scared of a debate?
2. For making provocative statements in the last 10 years that led to ‘incitement of violence’
•GOI should substantiate this with evidence and examples like BJP ministers who actually incited violence in Delhi with ‘Desh ke gadaron ko’ slogan followed by shootings
3. Green colour of the PDP party flag reflects radical origin
• PDP’s party symbol has been approved by ECI. Is GOI going to question & undermine decisions of ECI so brazenly now? Indian army officers wear green uniforms & their vehicles are of the same colour. Are they radicalised too? Why did BJP form a gov with PDP if its origin was dubious?
4. Subject recognised as hard headed & scheming person. Known for dangerous & insidious machinations. Compares her to a medieval historical figure who usurped power by poisoning her opponents
* Ms Muftis “alleged character” didn’t change. Why did BJP compromise on their ideology? Why did they forgo core issues like maintaining status quo on Article 370 in PDP BJPs agenda of alliance? Selective amnesia?
5. Promoting separatism corroborated by ‘several confidential reports’ filed by agencies.
•This highlights BJPs disregard for rule of law & intentionally defaming political rivals. Why not place such evidence in public domain?
6. Her Tweets raising concerns about fear mongering among minorities
. * Includes tweets on triple talaq, lynchings & BJP’s attempts to demonise Muslims. Is it illegal to question a vitiated atmosphere where BJP portrays Muslims (in minority) as a real threat to Hindus (in majority)?
7. Ms Mufti’s tweet in Feb 2019 questioning ban on civilian movement on Kashmir highway.
She questioned a decision that required Kashmiris to ask for permission to use their own roads. Are mainstream politicians in J&K not allowed to speak about issues that concern its people?
8. Tweet about Vikas being more elusive than a yeti. Questioning BJP’s priorities & if slogans like Bharat Mata Ki Jai is a panacea to issues like unemployment, inflation etc
• GOI has no tolerance for dissent/criticism. Does questioning this governments policies & priorities amount to sedition?
The grounds cited seem juvenile and laughable. If they convince the Advisory Board and the judiciary, it will come as a final confirmation that India is now a totalitarian police state.