Opposition leaders including Mamata and Pawar demand release of political prisoners in Kashmir

Opposition leaders on Monday issued a joint statement demanding the release of all political detainees in Kashmir, including three former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti.

“There are growing assaults on democratic norms, fundamental rights and civic liberties of citizens. As a result, dissent is not only being stifled, but the avenues of raising critical voices are also being systematically muted,” the joint statement said.

Former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti are among the political leaders who have been detained in the Valley since the abrogation of Article 370. They have been slapped with the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).

The statement was issued by Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowa, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D Raja, RJD MP Manoj Jha, and former BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie.

“There is nothing in the past records of these three leaders (former CMs of J&K) to lend credence to the Modi government’s false and self-serving claim that they pose a threat to ‘public safety’ in J&K or that they have endangered national interests with their activities,” it added.

“The government has recently organised well-choreographed visits of the foreign diplomats to Srinagar in a bid to show the world that the situation in J&K is ‘normal’, whereas it has placed all kinds of hurdles in the attempts of representatives of India’s own political and media establishment to move freely in the state and assess the situation on the ground,” the statement issued on Monday reads.

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