Mainstream Jammu and Kashmir politicians lodged in Srinagar's MLA hostel on Saturday alleged that the hostel security guards subjected their relatives including children and women to frisking.
The leaders assembled in the hostel premises and shouted slogans against, “misbehaviour of the security staff towards their relatives.” The relatives had come to meet the detained leaders.
Later, the police also conducted a search operation in the hostel. A senior police official termed the operation as “anti-sabotage raid.”
He said the raid was conducted for the safety of the people lodged in the hostel. But the police refused to comment on the alleged frisking and searching of kith and kin of the political leaders.
According to Tanvir Sadiq, political advisor to Omar Abdullah, his two-year-old son was subjected to search and his clothes were unzipped. The authorities, on the other hand, said it was routine and that other children, who had come to meet their relatives, were also searched. Sadiq is in custody since August 5, when Article 370 was removed by the BJP government.
“Various leaders inside the sub-jail (MLA Hostel) got angry over the behaviour of the security guards and shouted slogans against the security staff,” says one of the family members of the detained leaders. The incident, reportedly, took place at about 11:30 a.m.
They said the women who had gone to meet their relatives at the hostel were also subjected to frisking and were even asked to remove their shoes, socks and headscarves.
Daughter of the former J&K Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “seems like manhandling detainees wasn’t enough... J&K police on ADGs orders has raided MLA hostel, Srinagar today & subjected detainees to humiliating frisking & checking."
It seems as if the J&K police are drunk on newfound power are doing this to settle political scores, she said.
"Political detainees for reasons best known to state admin & JK police are living in squalor & are now being harassed on a daily basis," she added.
Saying that the political detainees were being treated "worse than hardened criminals", she requested the Prime Minister's Office to take stock of the situation prevalent in the Valley.
“As if the detention of their loved ones for the past 3 months wasn’t enough, these families are being blackmailed and are told that detainees will be released only if they ‘cooperate’ & join this motley crew heading an undemocratic third front in J&K,” Iltija tweeted.
On Wednesday the relatives of the politicians lodged a protest against the ill-treatment of the detainees.
Relatives of the detained leaders had said that they were being harassed during meetings at the MLA hostel. Alleging that the hostel has turned into a detention centre, they also claimed that the hostel does not have conducive living conditions.
Shehriyar Khanum, daughter of former minister Naeem Akhtar, had described the frisking as “very humiliating.”
On November 17, the government relocated mainstream detainees to the government facility from the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), which had practically become a mini-sub jail.
On Wednesday Iltija Mufti had tweeted: “SKICC detainees shifted to MLA hostel, Srinagar today, Police manhandled them and roughed up Sajad Lone, Waheed Para and Shah Faesal.”
She had added that: “(If) a man who PM Modi called his younger brother is being humiliated like this, imagine the plight of others” referring to an interview in which Sajad Lone had described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his elder brother.