Majid Kapra

Police disallow press conference at Mehbooba Mufti’s residence

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PDP says Mufti placed under house-arrest; police deny

Srinagar: Kashmir is an “open air prison” where no one has the right to express their opinion, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said on Friday after the authorities barred her from holding a press conference at her residence here where she claimed she was placed under house-arrest in the morning.

A CRPF mobile bunker was also placed outside the Gupkar residence of the PDP chief this morning. The former chief minister said she was not allowed to visit the Pulwama residence of party leader Waheed Parra who was arrested by the NIA earlier this week. Mufti said her daughter was also put under house-arrest.

“Press has been barred from entering my residence in Srinagar. This despite no written orders explaining my arbitrary detention. Kashmir is an open air prison where no one has the right to express their opinion,” she said on Twitter.

A posse of policemen stopped journalists about 100 metres away from Mufti’s ‘Fairview’ residence in Gupkar area of the city here, where she was scheduled to address the media.

The police said the presser of the PDP president was not allowed as per the orders from the higher-ups.

Mufti had invited journalists for the press conference this morning after she was allegedly put under house-arrest.

The former chief minister said she was not allowed for the last two days to meet the family of the party’s youth leader Waheed Parra who was arrested by the NIA. She said Parra was arrested on “baseless charges”.

“Ive been illegally detained yet again. Since two days, J&K admin has refused to allow me to visit @parawahid’s family in Pulwama. BJP Ministers & their puppets are allowed to move around in every corner of Kashmir but security is a problem only in my case,” Mufti said in a tweet in the morning.

The police dismissed Mufti’s claims saying she was not under house-arrest but was asked to postpone her visit to Pulwama due to security reasons.

The police, however, did not elaborate on why the residence of the PDP chief was blocked and journalists were barred from entering it for the press conference.

“PDP leader Ms Mehbooba Mufti is not under house arrest. She was requested to #postpone her visit to #Pulwama purely due to #security reasons,” Kashmir Zone Police said on Twitter.

The former chief minister accused the administration of using “fear and intimidation” to “muffle” any form of opposition just a day before the commencement of the District Development Council (DDC) polls.

“We are one day away from DDC polling & its evident that the admin here is using fear & intimidation in tandem to muffle any form of opposition,” she said on Twitter.

“Their cruelty knows no bounds. Waheed was arrested on baseless charges & I am not allowed to even console his family. Even my daughter Iltija has been placed under house arrest because she also wanted to visit Waheed’s family,” Mufti said in another tweet.

In a communication posted by Mufti on her official twitter handle, Additional Director General of Police and Director Special Security Group (SSG) S D Singh sought rescheduling of the proposed visit of the former chief minister to the Naira village on the demand of the Pulwama district police.

The Pulwama Police sought the rescheduling of her programme citing that neither an anti-sabotage check nor a proper route sanitisation had been done as the entire manpower was committed for other election related operation duties.

Jammu and Kashmir is all set for the maiden District Development Council (DDC) polls and by-elections to the Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies, scheduled to be held in eight phases beginning November 28.

Parra was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday for allegedly seeking help and support from Hizbul Mujahideen in the 2019 Parliamentary elections in which Mufti was the PDP candidate.

Mufti had sought security clearance for her visit to the residence of Parra at Naira village on Friday to meet his family. (With inputs from PTI)

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