Mehbooba Mufti, the president of Peoples Democratic Party, has been finally released after 14 months in captivity.
The 61-year-old was the last of the three chief ministers to be released.
Two other former CMs — Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah — were released months earlier, in March.
All the three were booked under the Public Safety Act and were among thousands detained to prevent unrest over the effective nullification of Article 370 by centre on August 5.
Mehbooba’s continued incarceration even after Abudullahs were freed was inexplicable especially what makes her an exceptional suspect under the PSA. Her release also comes just as the deadline set by the Supreme Court to the government to explain her detention was set to expire. Mehobba’s release, on expected lines, is set to give impetus to the moves made by the political parties in Jammu and Kashmir recently to be mount pressure on New Delhi to undo the August 5 decisions. The BJP’s view on Kashmir is as old the party itself. But that by itself is no reason to avoid revisiting the issue and only time will tell if the political parties are able to mount pressure on the government to re-examine the decision. Most of the political parties will sit together one more time on October 15, except if barred, to mull over ways to stand up to their avowal known as Gupkar Declaration. The last time they sat together on August 22 and issued a joint statement that called for the rollback of the constitutional changes of last year even as they termed the decision “spitefully short sighted, measure to disempower, times of pain” and so on.
There seems to be understanding among them that the only way they could undone some of the administrative and legislative changes over the last year by forming a majority government. However, it could be in J&K as a state and not a Union territory. Even if they secure a landslide majority in a future election the parties will remain subservient to the lieutenant-governor.
Meanwhile, the constitutionality of the annulling of the special status and accompanying restrictions on the entire population remains unsettled before the Supreme Court, fourteen months on. It is the time that will define if the parties are able to force a shift in the government of India’s policy or their moves turns to be long-standing political plank.