Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti was on Thursday evening shifted to a government-owned bungalow along Srinagar’s Moulana Azad Road from a makeshift prison in the foothills of Zabarwan here where she had been lodged since August 5.
The official and PDP sources said that Ms Mufti has been shifted to 5 Moulana Azad Road which is equipped with better heating and other facilities. The premises are being declared a “subsidiary jail”, the official sources said.
As the Valley is reeling under biting cold following heavy snowfalls and rains past week, the authorities had come under criticism over lodging Ms Mufti at a place which was not equipped with proper heating arrangement.
Ms Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti had recently expressed concern over what she had said were poor heating facilities available to her mother at the makeshift jail in Chashmashahi area on the foothills of Zabarwan. She had warned that the Government of Indian would be responsible if anything untoward happens to her mother.
Days after her detention along with hundreds of other mainstream politicians on August 4, 60-year-old Mufti was shifted to a tourism cottage in Chashmashahi from nearby Hari Nivas guesthouse. Like “Hari Nivas” the tourism cottage too had been declared a “subsidiary jail”.
Ms. Iltija said that she had asked for sufficient space with proper sunlight and basic facilities for her mother to be lodged in. “My mother has been shifted to House Number 5 along Moulana Azad Road. I haven’t seen the new place and, therefore, can’t say whether it is adequate and properly equipped,” she said.
Also under detention for past more than fourteen are two other former chief ministers of J&K Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and hundreds other political leaders and activists, trade union leaders and civil society activists. While SeniorAbdullah has been incarcerated under J&K’s stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), others including Ms. Mufti are detained under Sections 107 /151 CrPC- the provision under which a person can be detained if the authorities perceive him or her a threat to peace.
Omar Abdullah continues to be lodged in Hari Nivas whereas his father has been detained in his home along Srinagar’s Gupkar Road which again has been declared a “subsidiary jail’. Most other detainees are lodged in the Centaur Lakeview Hotel on the banks of Dal Lake here.
The official sources said that the government is contemplating to shift several other politicians to “warmer” place in coming days.