The people of Kashmir continue to be “deprived of fundamental rights and have suffered grave economic and psychological tribulations”, said Iltija Mufti, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, describing in a long note, the last months during which her mother has spent in detention.
“On a personal level, words escape me to describe the past six months since the reading down of Article 370 followed by my mother’s detention,” Iltija Mufti tweeted a post from Mehbooba Mufti’s account, just before she confirmed that her mother was charged under the Public Safety Act.
Ms Mufti and Omar Abdullah, also a former Chief Minister, were on Thursday charged under the Public Safety Act – a stringent law that allows detention without trial for up to three months and multiple extensions. The order came on the last day of their six-month detention without charges.
Iltija Mufti, who has been operating her mother’s Twitter handle since August last year, describes how she communicated with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief.
“I’ll never forget the week that she was arrested and jailed. I spent the next few days riddled with anxiety until I received a crumpled and tersely worded note, the first of many furtively exchanged letters. I found it in a tiffin box that contained home cooked food sent for her,” Iltija Mufti writes.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) February 6, 2020
Here’s what Mehbooba Mufti, 60, wrote to her daughter in that tiffin box note, according to Iltija Mufti: “They have taken an understanding that I won’t be using social media to communicate. In case someone else does it, he’ll be booked on charges of impersonation. Love you and miss you a lot.”
“Soon, the dilemma of dispatching a reply arose. My grandmother found an ingenious solution. The letter I wrote was folded into a tiny square and carefully sealed, rolled and locked inside the middle of a chapatti,” Iltija Mufti writes.
Mehbooba Mufti was earlier kept at Chashmashahi guest house and was shifted to a government bungalow on MA Road in Srinagar in December after her daughter said she was suffering from the severe cold weather.
While Ms Mufti will continue to be held at a government house, Omar Abdullah will remain in custody at Hari Niwas, a state guest house.
Omar Abdullah’s father, Farooq Abdullah was charged under the same law last September and has been under house arrest since August as well. The 83-year-old politician was charged with “disturbing public order” under the law, which means shorter detention of three months.
Hundreds of politicians including the Abdullahs and Mehbooba Mufti were detained or arrested in August as part of the centre’s massive clampdown after its decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the constitution and split it into two union territories.