From face of Indian democracy in Kashmir to threat to peace

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 11/19/2019 12:15:04 AM

Mainstream leaders in MLAs’ Hostel

SRINAGAR, Nov 18: MLAs Hostel here is not an unfamiliar place for a number of detained senior mainstream leaders, who were shifted there from the Centaur Hotel sub jail yesterday.
The only big difference is that in the past these leaders were lodged in the highly guarded MLAs Hostel because they represented the face of Indian democracy in Kashmir but now they have been detained there as the Centre considers them a threat to peace and law and order in Kashmir.
After the restoration of democracy and installation of Dr Farooq Abdullah led National Conference government in Jammu and Kashmir in 1996, the MLA’s Hostel became politically active. Legislators from various political parties particularly that of NC were lodged there and people in large numbers from their respective assembly constituencies would visit them for redressal of their grievances.
Now, only family members and close relatives can meet the leaders since they are under detention and MLA’s Hostel has been converted into a sub-jail. The change of scene from 1996 to 2019 projects the surprising and unimaginable change in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir with the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A and downgrading of J&K state into two union territories.
Farooq, at whose swearing-in ceremony as chief minister in 1996, the top brass of the then United Front (UF) government at Centre converged at SKICC here, himself is detained at his Gupkar Residence here under Public Safety Act (PSA). In 1996, NC at that time was hailed widely, at the national level, for taking part in assembly polls and helping restoration of democracy in J&K after a long period of militancy.
Farooq’s son, Omar Abdullah, continues to be detained at Hari Niwas building. Omar who is known for being very active on Twitter even when he was the chief minister, is without internet for over three months. His recent picture, sporting a beard, was uploaded on internet by his party colleagues from Jammu after their visit to him in the sub jail.
It is not only the NC leaders, but leaders from other political parties, including legislators, are now detained in MLA’s hostel as political prisoners.
The leaders were shifted there in view of the better heating arrangements there than Centuar Hotel amid the increasing cold in the Valley, according to officials.



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