‘Treated Like A War Criminal’: Mehbooba Mufti’s Daughter Writes To Amit Shah

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After writing a letter to home minister Amit Shah, Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti has released a voice message saying she has been detained at her home, NDTV reported.

“I am being treated like a criminal and I am under constant surveillance. I fear for my life along with those Kashmiris who have spoken up,” she said, according to NDTV.

Iltija’s letter to Shah was made public on Thursday after she managed to send it out through an aide to The Wire.

In her letter, she says she has been “threatened with dire consequences” if she spoke to the media again.  

“It’s a tragic irony that I am being treated like a war criminal for stating the inconvenient truth,” she writes.

Iltija asks which laws she has been detained under and for how long. 

“We are not even told when visitors are turned away from the gate and I am not allowed to step out either. Odd, since I am not affiliated to any political party and have always been a law-abiding citizen.

However, the security personnel have cited my interviews to various media portals and newspapers as the reason for my detention. In fact, I’ve been threatened with dire consequences if I speak up again,” she writes.

Iltija had written for The Telegraph on Kashmir on August 9. She also spoke to the Hindustan Times last week, via voice messages.

Friday is the 12th day of the communication shutdown in Kashmir. At least 300 political leaders and workers have been arrested, but the government hasn’t confirmed any numbers. 

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were detained on the night of August 4, hours before the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and announced that the state would be bifurcated into the territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The Jammu and Kashmir authorities last week airlifted a fresh batch of 20 “potential troublemakers” from Srinagar to Agra as a precautionary measure in the wake of constitutional changes made by the government, PTI reported. Among those airlifted include president of Kashmir High Court Bar Association Mian Qayoom.

Former IAS officer Shah Faesal, who is also under detention, has been taken to a makeshift detention centre at the Centaur Hotel in Srinagar, officials told PTI on Thursday. Faesal had been stopped from taking a flight to Istanbul at the Delhi airport during the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday and was flown back to Srinagar where he was detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA), they said. 

Here is the full text of Iltija Mufti’s letter to Amit Shah:

Dear sir,

I am left with no other option but to write to you since I’ve made several unsuccessful attempts to get a degree of clarity on my detention. Hope and pray that I am not punished/penalised or arrested for raising questions about my fundamental rights.

Kashmir is engulfed in clouds of darkness and I fear for the safety of its people including those who spoke up. We Kashmiris are reeling in despair since the unilateral abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019. My mother, Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir was detained along with scores of other elected representatives the very same day.

It’s now been over ten long agonising days since this crippling curfew was imposed. The valley is gripped with fear because all forms of communications have been snapped thereby debilitating an entire population. Today while the rest of the country celebrates India’s Independence Day, Kashmiris have been caged like animals and deprived of basic human rights.

Unfortunately, for reasons best known to you, I also have been placed under detention at my residence. We are not even told when visitors are turned away from the gate and I am not allowed to step out either. Odd, since I am not affiliated to any political party and have always been a law abiding citizen.

However, the security personnel have cited my interviews to various media portals and newspapers as the reason for my detention. In fact, I’ve been threatened with dire consequences if I speak up again.

Pertinent to mention that the recurrent theme of these interviews was unconstitutional abrogation of the Article 370 followed by an unprecedented curfew. I also expressed concern for my mother’s safety, who along with hundreds of political detainees have been jailed since August 5, 2019.

With due respect, I fail to understand why I am being punished for speaking on behalf on Kashmiris whose voices have been smothered. Is it a crime to articulate the pain, torment and indignity we’ve been subjected to?

Does it warrant a detention to describe our plight? I’d be most obliged If you could kindly throw light on the laws under which I’ve been detained and for how long? Do I need to seek legal recourse?

It’s suffocating and humiliating to be treated in this manner. I have to grovel for permission to allow my aged grandmother to visit her son. Is she also a potential threat?

For the world’s largest democracy, doesn’t a citizen not have a right to speak up in the face of unimaginable repression? Satyamev jayate i.e. truth only triumphs has defined the spirit of our country and it’s constitution. It’s a tragic irony that I am being treated like a war criminal for stating the inconvenient truth.

Apologies for not posting this letter but as you’re aware postal services in Jammu and Kashmir have been suspended.

May truth prevail.

Regards,
Iltija Mufti



via Huffpost

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