The Centre on Tuesday told the Lok Sabha that 223 political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, who were imprisoned last year after August 5, continue to remain under detention but none of them are under house arrest, PTI reported. Tuesday was the second day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
On August 5, 2019, the Narendra Modi government changed the legal status of Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Article 370, split it into two Union Territories, imprisoned all mainstream Kashmiri politicians, and imposed the harshest communication and physical lockdown in the history of the region. Some of the politicians like former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah have been released but several, including Mehbooba Mufti, are still in detention.
During the session on Tuesday, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said the communications blackout and mass arrests, along with other restrictions were preventive measures taken by the Centre to maintain public order in the Valley. “As on September 11, 2020, 223 persons are under detention,” he added in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha. “No person is under house arrest in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.”
The Centre’s response came weeks after Peoples Democratic Party leaders alleged that they were stopped from attending the party’s official on September 3. Some party leaders had posted videos on social media showing police officers outside their residence, who allegedly prevented them from leaving their homes, where they have been reportedly detained.
Reddy further claimed that since the erstwhile state was bifurcated, terrorism and militancy in the region have reduced significantly. “From June 29, 2018 to August 4, 2019 [402 days], there were 455 terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir and from August 5, 2019 to September 9 [402 day], a total of 211 such incidents took place in the newly created Union Territory,” the minister told Lok Sabha.