Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was released from detention after 14 months on October 13, said in an audio message that people of Kashmir will never forget the humiliation caused by the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which granted special status to the erstwhile state.
In the message posted on Twitter immediately after her release, Mufti added that Kashmiris have to get back what the government had “illegally” snatched from them.
“I have been released today after over a year. All through this time, the black day of August 5 kept wounding my soul. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have also suffered like this. None of us can forget the insult caused that day,” said Mufti, the leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (JKPDP).
“We have to get back what Delhi snatched from us in an undemocratic and illegal way,” Mufti said, adding that the people of what is now a Union Territory would have to continue efforts to resolve the Kashmir issue.
Acknowledging that the task would not be easy, Mufti said that people’s “courage and determination will take us through”.
Mufti’s release came two days before the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear a petition by her daughter Iltija Mufti challenging the former chief minister’s detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA). In September, the apex court had asked the Centre and the UT administration to respond to the plea.
She had been in detention since August 5, 2019, when the Centre moved to revoke Article 370 and also bifurcated J&K into two UTs – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. This was followed by a complete lockdown of the erstwhile state. 4G internet services have still not been restored on the Kashmir Valley.
Many other political leaders from the Valley, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah who had been detained, were released in March. Sajjad Lone, the leader of the People’s Conference, was released in July.
Senior opposition leaders from J&K and from across the country, including Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader MK Stalin welcomed Mufti’s release.