International desk, August 16: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter has released a second voice message saying she has been detained at her home, days after her mother was arrested.
Iltija Javed has also written to Home Minister Amit Shah saying she has been “threatened with dire consequences” if she speaks to the media again. “Kashmiris have been caged like animals and deprived of basic human rights,” she wrote in her letter.
As the lockdown in the Kashmir Valley enters its twelfth day, the top mainstream political leaders remain under arrest. Two former Chief Ministers – Ms Mufti and Omar Abdullah – are among those who have been arrested, NDTV reports.
“Today while the rest of the country celebrates India’s Independence Day, Kashmiris have been caged like animals and deprived of basic human rights,” Ms Javed wrote in her letter to Mr Shah. She said she is not informed when visitors are turned away from the gate and that she is not allowed to step out of her home.
In her letter to the Home Minister asking for an explanation for her alleged detention, she said security personnel cited her media interviews as the reason for her detention. “I’ve been threatened with dire consequences if I speak up again,” the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader’s daughter wrote.
“For the world’s largest democracy, doesn’t a citizen not have a right to speak up in the face of unimaginable repression… It’s a tragic irony that I am being treated like a war criminal for stating the inconvenient truth,” Ms Javed said in the letter which was released along with the audio message.
She released the voice note as almost all lines of communication with Kashmir have been snapped by the government to prevent a backlash to its decisions – ending Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and splitting it into two union territories.
“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 described in the audio message.
Mehbooba Mufti – who was placed under house arrest around midnight last Sunday along with National Conference leader Omar Abdullah – was arrested and taken from her home in Srinagar to a nearby government guest house the next day.
IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal was detained at the Delhi airport on Wednesday and sent back to Srinagar, where he was placed under house arrest under the Public Safety Act.
It is not known yet when they will be released.
In her first audio message last week, Iltija Javed had alleged that her mother is in solitary confinement without access to lawyers or party workers.
As part of a complete communications blackout, phone services and internet connections remain suspended in the Kashmir Valley and curfew-like restrictions are in place. Top officials are using satellite phones to communicate.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration had said that the restrictions in Kashmir will be removed in a phased manner. The police had said the curbs will continue in Kashmir “for sometime”.