Srinagar: Iltija Mufti, daughter of incarcerated former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, on Thursday claimed that she had been detained at her Gupkar Road residence in capital Srinagar to stop her from visiting her grandfather Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s grave in southern Anantnag district.
Though the police said that Iltija was not detained but refused permission to visit Sayeed’s grave in home town Bijbehara at a short notice by the district police authorities, sources said that she was not allowed to move out of her Srinagar home on Thursday. This correspondent saw a police vehicle placed at the main entrance to the premises to block the access.
Iltija said over the phone that her ‘detention’ reveals the government’s “nervousness” in dealing with the dissent and also negates its claim that situation in the Valley has returned to normal.
She said that she wanted to pay obeisance at her grandfather’s ahead of his fifth death anniversary falling on January 7 and oversee the preparations being made for the event. She said over the phone, “I’ve been detained here...I’m not being permitted to leave this place nor is any one allowed to enter here.” People’s Democratic Party has moved an application before Anantnag’s DC seeking permission for holding prayer meeting beside Mr. Sayeed’s grave on his death anniversary.
Iltija, born in 1986, professionally belongs to Bollywood but has been in the news since August this year when her mother like hundreds of Kashmiri politicians was detained by the authorities ahead of the Centre’s stripping J&K of its special status and splitting the state up into two union territories.
Since, she has been publicly resisting the government’s contentious move and accompanying harsh measures, including detention of political leaders, and other activists and communication blackout most vocally and, by virtue of it, has achieved eminence in political arena of the country and beyond. She also actively handles her mother’s Twitter and other social media accounts where again she has been highly critical of the Modi government.
Additional director general of police (law and order and security) Munir Khan denied Iltija has been detained. He said, “The Anantnag police did not give clearance to her visit. She is Special Services Group (SSG) protected person and, if such as person has to visit any place, we have to get clearance from the police of that area.”
The officer said that Iltija earlier during the day informed the police about her intention to visit her grandfather’s grave in Bijbehara and that the Anantnag police could not give its clearance to it on such a short notice.
But Iltija accused the police officer of lying to media.
“The matter of the fact is that he asked my driver and other staff members and even my (police) Personal Security Officer not to come to my residence today. I have been in the Valley for over a week and was being allowed to move around only after I would inform the security team at our residence about my day plan. Today I was told that I need to get prior permission from the police if I want to come out of my home even for five minutes,” she said.
The authorities are unlikely to grant the PDP permission to hold a rally or even a large prayer (fateha) meeting at the grave of its patrol Sayeed. On December 5 this year, the police had enforced restrictions around the lakeside mausoleum of Kashmir’s legendary leader Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in Srinagar’s Naseem Bagh area to prevent a mass gathering at the mazaar on his 114th birth anniversary. However later during that day, people were -individually or in small numbers- allowed to enter the mazaar area on the western shore of the Dal Lake to offer fateha (prayers for the dead). Among them were the Sheikh’s younger daughter Suraya Abdullah, her husband Dr. Ali Muhammad Mattoo and National Conference (NC) MP Hasnain Masoodi. The Sheikh’s eldest child Begum Khalida Shah who heads Awami National Conference (ANC), a splinter group of the NC, was, however, was denied permission to visit the mazaar even after she had moved an application before the concerned authorities for it.