After being under house detention for more than a year, former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Saiffudin Soz was allowed to move from his residence by the Jammu Kashmir government. However, he claimed that he did not receive any official order about his release.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, Soz said he was verbally informed by a security guard on August 5 last year that he had been placed under house arrest.
Now, he said, he was again verbally informed by the security guard that he was free from house detention.
“When I sought the government orders about my release the guard told me that these days everything was being done verbally. There is no system as the RSS model has been accepted,” Soz said.
He said that all the big institutions across India had become weak.
“Sadly, this government is habitual of telling lies,” he said.
Soz said he was never informed about the reasons of his detention or arrest.
“The government even made a false statement before the Supreme Court that I was a free man. What surprises me is that they have been doing everything verbally,” he said.
This year on July 29, a habeas corpus petition by the 82-year-old leader was dismissed by the Supreme Court after the JK administration claimed that Soz was never under detention.
JK spokesman Rohit Kansal reiterated that he was never detained or put under house arrest.
Kansal had tweeted, “Mr. Saiffudin Soz, former MP and minister not under arrest or detention. He has been to Delhi twice – in October and December. Free to go wherever he likes with usual security drill. No question of lying in the Supreme Court.”
Next day, however, when media persons reached his residence they saw the Congress leader being detained inside his house.
A video emerged of Soz being prevented by security men from stepping out of his house.
In the video which went viral on social media, Soz was seen being physically prevented from talking to media persons on the other side of the fenced wall of his residence.
On 5 August 2019, when, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at New Delhi revoked the constitutional special status of J&K and divided it into two federally governed territories – JK and Ladakh – most of the prominent mainstream politicians of JK were either detained or kept under house arrest.
Soz is an octogenarian and a former member of parliament, who represented north Kashmir’s Baramulla constituency in 1983.
He has been re-elected many times, and has also served as a Union Minister for Environment and Forests from 1997-99, and as the Union Minister for Water Resources from 2006-2009.
He has also been the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee.