Must collectively demand free Mehbooba Mufti immediately: Ex union minister Chidambaram

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Demanding immediate release of Jammu and Kashmir’s (J-K) former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, a senior Congress leader and former union minister, P Chidambaram has called the extension of her detention under the draconian Public Safety Law (PSA) as “an abuse of law and assault on the Constitutional rights guaranteed to every citizen.”

Mr. Chidambaram added: “We must collectively raise our voices and demand ‘FREE MEHBOOBA MUFTI IMMEDIATELY’.”

Ms. Mufti remains under detention since 5 August 2019 when the Government of India revoked the special status of J-K and clamped down in the region. It also detained all prominent unionist leaders, including Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah. Though nearly all the leaders were gradually released, Ms. Mufti’s detention under PSA was extended by three months on Friday.

Taking to Twitter, Mr. Chidambaram asked: “How is the 61 year old former chief minister, a protected person under security guard round the clock, a threat to public safety?”

Earlier, reportedly, the politicians were asked by the administration to sign a bond for their release, agreeing to not speak up against the central government’s decision of abrogating the article 370. On this, Mr. Chidambaram added: “She rightly rejected the offer to release her on conditions which any self-respecting political leader would refuse… Why should she undertake not to speak against the abrogation of Art 370? Is it not part of the right to free speech?”

“One of the reasons given for her detention — the colour of her party’s flag — was laughable,” he wrote on Saturday. “I am one of the Counsel appearing in a case in the SC challenging the abrogation of Art 370. If I speak against Art 370 — as I must — is that a threat to public safety?”

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