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Friday, July 1, 2022

‘We get locked up’: India cages pro-autonomy leaders before EU envoys’ visit to Kashmir

After Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference leaders Omar Abdullah and his father Farooq Abdullah have been put in house detention ahead of the guided tour of European envoys to Jammu and Kashmir this week.

Posting a series of picture on his twitter, that show government forces deployed outside his residence in Srinagar’s Gupkar Road, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister wrote: “This is the ‘naya JK’ after Aug 2019. We get locked up in our homes with no explanation. It’s bad enough they”ve locked my father (a sitting MP) & me in our home, they’ve locked my sister & her kids in their home as well,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti had on Saturday too claimed that she was placed under house arrest ahead of her visit to the family of Athar Mushtaq — one of the three alleged militants killed in an encounter in Parimpora locality here in December last year.

Omar, the NC vice president wrote that even his house staff was not being let inside. “Chalo, your new model of democracy means that we are kept in our homes without explanation but on top of that the staff that works in the house aren’t being allowed in and then you are surprised that I’m still angry & bitter,” he said in another tweet.

The house arrest of the pro-autonomy leaders comes days ahead of a scheduled guided tour of twenty member European envoy delegation to Jammu and Kashmir from February 17th.

According to reports, the delegation will access the situation after the conduct of first grass root election -District Development Council in last thirty years.

Reports said the delegation, as a part of the tour organized by India’s foreign ministry, will interact with newly elected DDC members, representatives of political parties, trade leaders, social activists and journalists.

Analysts said that tour is being organized to thwart the global pressure on Kashmir and give an impression that peace has returned to the disputed Himalayan region after India revoked its special status in 2019. 

A group of largely right-wing European parliamentarians (MEPs) had visited Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, prompting outrage from local politicians who have not been allowed to go out of their homes.

The visit had been criticised as nothing more than a PR stunt.

This was the first international delegation to visit the region since August, when India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party stripped the state of its autonomy, splitting it into two federally run territories and locking it down for weeks.

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