The detention of former chief minister of occupied Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti is a ruse by the Indian government to break her spirit, a report published by The Hindu quoted Mufti's daughter as saying on Tuesday.
Mufti, the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party chief, was among four prominent political leaders who were detained on Monday, hours after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Indian government scrapped Article 370 of the Indian constitution that granted special status to occupied Kashmir.
The other leaders who were arrested were Omar Abdullah — another former Kashmir chief minister — and J&K People’s Conference leaders Sajjad Lone and Imran Ansari.
Speaking to The Hindu from Srinagar, Mufti's daughter Iltija Javed said of her mother's arrest: “This is a ruse by the State to break her spirit. We don’t know how she is at the moment, as she was taken away last evening after being under house arrest.”
The detained leaders were moved to an official guest house on Monday, according to a court order.
“Your activities are likely to cause breach of peace, keeping into consideration your recent activities that may likely lead to a serious law and order situation,” said the order that allowed the transfer, which was obtained by AFP on Tuesday.
The magistrate's order did not make specific criminal charges.
Before being moved, Mufti took to Twitter to say that ending occupied Kashmir's special status had reduced “India to an occupation force in Jammu and Kashmir”.
Javed termed the BJP government's decision to strip occupied Kashmir of its special status and bifurcate the state into two union territories as “completely undemocratic”, saying it has made Kashmiris “second-class citizens in their own state”.
Likening occupied Kashmir to "an open-air prison", she said the people of Kashmiri were not being allowed to speak out. "Now I know what it is like to be in Palestine," she added.
She questioned the BJP government's claim that the removal of the special status would go in Kashmiris' favour.
"Do you think Kashmiris have such low IQ that they don’t know what is good for them? Or what they want for themselves? Should it have been done so undemocratically?,” she asked.
Javed said the way forward was for political parties in Kashmiris to get together and put up a united front for the cause of their region.
Occupied Kashmir remained virtually cut off from the outside world for a second day on Tuesday, with phone and internet links cut and thousands of troops enforcing a curfew.
On Tuesday few Indian newspapers questioned the revocation, though many raised fears about the way it was carried out.
“There is no parallel in the history of independent India for the secrecy and stealth deployed by the government to bring in something which is politically and communally contentious,” said the Indian Express.
India's presidential order
On Monday, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order. An indefinite curfew — that has entered its third day today — was imposed in occupied Kashmir and elected leaders were put under house arrest.
By repealing Article 370 of the constitution, people from the rest of India will now have the right to acquire property in Kashmir and settle there permanently. Kashmiris as well as critics of India’s Hindu nationalist-led government see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers.
Furthermore, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also president of the BJP, moved a bill to bifurcate the state into two union territories to be directly ruled by New Delhi.