Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India in Jammu and Kashmir alleging since 2019 fundamental rights of every resident of J&K have been suspended arbitrarily and the constitutional guarantees given at the time of J&Ks accession were suddenly and unconstitutionally abrogated.
In the letter released by the PDP, Mehbooba alleges, anti-terror laws like UAPA are slapped ruthlessly on flimsy and trivial grounds. “All government agencies be it ED, NIA or CBI are used to hound businessmen, political leaders and even youngsters. Hundreds of our youngsters are languishing in jails outside J&K as undertrials. Their condition is exacerbated,” the letter says.
She also sought his intervention in issuing of her passport, her daughter’s and her mother’s passport and release of journalists detained under Public Safety Act.
“Passports being a fundamental right are impounded with full impunity. Journalists are being imprisoned and even prevented from flying out of the country. Even a Pulitzer award winning young photojournalist was denied her right to fly abroad to receive the award,” the letter reads.
“Journalists like Fahad Shah and Sajad Gul have been imprisoned under UAPA & PSA for over a year now for simply shining light on excesses committed by the Indian Government. The only ember of hope in these bleak circumstances is the judiciary which only can right these wrongs,” former Chief Minister says.
However, Mehbooba says, it saddens her to say that so far her experience with the judiciary has not inspired much confidence.
“In my own habeas corpus case filed by my daughter in 2019, it took the Supreme Court well over a year to order my release while I was arbitrarily detained under PSA. Another example is my aged mother’s passport that has been arbitrarily withheld by the Government. It has been over two years since we filed a petition in J&K High Court. Here too, we are given date after date with no decision in sight,” she adds.
“This in addition to my daughter Iltija’s and my passport being withheld for no obvious reason. I have cited these examples only to drive home the fact that if my own fundamental rights being a former Chief Minister and an MP can be so easily suspended you can well imagine the plight of common people,” Mehbooba said. “My mother too is the wife of a former Union Home Minister, a senior statesman and two time chief minister & her passport was rejected on unknown grounds,” Mehboob adds.
“There are countless examples of common citizens, journalists, mainstream political workers and social activists who are bearing the brunt of such oppressive arbitrary decisions that trample upon their core rights & freedoms,” the former Chief Minister says.
“However I choose not to be overwhelmed with pessimism and despair. I have the highest respect and unflinching faith in the courts of our country. Unfortunately it is also my last refuge of hope in such bleak and despondent times that the judiciary will fulfil its duty,” the letter reads.
“I fervently hope that with your intervention justice is delivered and the people of J&K see their expectations of dignity, human rights, constitutional guarantees and a democratic polity realised which had inspired their forefathers to join Mahatma Gandhi’s India,” Mehbooba says.