Govt’s quest to address security concerns should not be at cost of ‘trampling’ rights: Mehbooba Mufti

SRINAGAR — The Centre’s quest to address security concerns in Jammu and Kashmir should not come at the cost of “trampling constitutional rights and eroding” the very rule of law, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said on Friday.

Her remarks came after Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police RR Swain on Sunday said that locals, who are found supporting foreign militants will be dealt with under the Enemy Agents Ordinance, which is much harsher than the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

“Jammu Kashmir police’s recent decision of invoking the draconian Enemy Ordinance Act from the Maharaja’s era against its own citizens on mere suspicion of abetting and aiding militants isnt only deeply concerning but a major breach of justice,” the former chief minister of the erstwhile state of J&K, said in a post on X.

She said these archaic laws “violate” human rights and the punishments accompanying it are “grossly incompatible with principles and values of justice enshrined in the Constitution”.

“GOIs (Government of India’s) quest to address security concerns shouldn’t come at the cost of trampling constitutional rights and eroding the very rule of law,” she added.

Mehbooba’s daughter and her media advisor, Iltija Mufti, said such actions suggest that there will be little change in the BJP’s policy regarding Kashmir.

“What does J and K admins recent decision of arresting Mian Qayoom, banning JK High Court Bar Association elections and @JmuKmrPolice invoking a draconian law from the erstwhile Maharaja’s era tell you? That even after losing its brute majority there will be little change in BJPs policy vis – a -vis Kashmir,” Iltija said on X.

She was also referring to the arrest of former president of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Mian Abdul Qayoom, for his alleged involvement in the murder conspiracy of fellow advocate Babar Qadri in 2020.

Qayoom was arrested on Tuesday. On the same day, authorities banned the polls to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association on grounds that it is not registered with the competent authority and on apprehensions of breach of peace.

“This sudden slew of repressive actions is also to punish Kashmiris for exercising their right to vote to wholeheartedly reject Delhi’s illegal revocation of J and K’s special status as well as its deeply disliked proxy parties,” she alleged. — (PTI)