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Flaying Parra’s detention, Mehbooba alleges persecution

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Srinagar: PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said the arrest of her party’s youth wing president Waheed ur Rehman Para was emblematic of the situation of Kashmiri politicians who she claimed were being “persecuted” by the Centre for not toeing its line.

Para was arrested on November 25, 2020 in connection with the Naveed Babu-DySP Davinder Singh case for supporting the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group.

Para, who had filed his nomination papers before his arrest, was elected to the District Development Council (DDC) from Pulwama while in custody.

He has not been administered oath as DDC member so far.

He was granted bail by an NIA court earlier this month but has been taken into custody by Counter Intelligence Kashmir (CIK) wing of the J&K Police.

“Waheed’s persecution by the Indian government is emblematic of the situation that Kashmiri politicians find themselves in today. Disliked & mistrusted by people in J&K for their faith in Indian constitution on one hand & punished by GOI for not toeing their line on the other,” Mehbooba said in a series of tweets.

The PDP president gave a personal rendition of Para’s initiation into politics.

“PDPs @parawahid arrested immediately after filing his DDC nomination hails from a family where his grandfather would unfurl the Indian flag when not many Kashmiris would do so. Waheed’s interest in politics started at a young age,” she tweeted.

“As a child he’d visit the local MLA’s house & listen to political conversations with rapt attention. His mother was scared that one fine day he’d pursue this passion for politics & become a target for militants. Sadly this fear consumed her & she died when Waheed was a teenager,” the former chief minister said in the longish thread.

She said the system in which Para had placed his faith was going after him with a vengeance.

“Today the very same system that he placed his faith in is going after him with a vengeance. Waheed despite being in illegal detention lasting a year fought & won DDC elections from jail. Even after a strong bail order by NIA court he was rearrested by CIK on unknown charges,” the PDP chief tweeted.

“Not having any proof to substantiate these charges, GOI is on a spree where Waheed is arrested by one agency after another. It is sheer political vendetta & an attempt to sabotage the life of a young & promising 32 year old man,” she added.

Mehbooba said the judicial system was the last hope of the young politician. “His last hope now rests on the justice system & I hope that truth & justice prevail,” she said.

Later in the day, PDP chief reached Jammu on a week-long visit to hold discussions with senior leaders on party affairs and the future strategy.

This is her first visit to the Jammu division post Jammu and Kashmir’s maiden DDC elections that were held in November-December last year.

Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an amalgam of various political parties including the PDP, swept the polls by winning 110 out of 280 seats.

“Mehbooba Mufti has arrived in Jammu. She will be holding threadbare discussions with district units over the next week with a focus on party affairs and the future strategy,” PDP spokesperson Firdous Ahmad Tak said.

During her visit, Mehbooba will visit the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, and the Chenab Valley region to interact with party leaders and workers, he said.

She will also visit the bereaved family of former minister Sardar Rafiq Khan in Poonch to express her condolences, the PDP spokesperson said.

The 85-year-old leader breathed his last on January 20.

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