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Mehbooba Mufti Detained at Home, Barred From Visiting South Kashmir

Anees Zargar |
The police did not issue a statement on her arrest, but sources say that she was barred due to security reasons.
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Srinagar: Former chief minister and president of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti was detained at her Gupkar residence on Tuesday, the leader tweeted, barring her from visiting a family of Kashmiri Hindus in South Kashmir's Shopian district.

The family in Shopian's Chotigam was recently attacked by suspected militants on April 4 when one of the members, Balkrishen Bhat, was shot and left injured at his shop in one of the series of attacks against the minority community recently.

"Placed under house arrest today because I wanted to visit the family of the Kashmiri pandit attacked in Shopian. GOI wilfully spreads fake propaganda about Kashmiri mainstream & Muslims responsible for pandit exodus & doesn't want this fake divisive narrative to be exposed," Mehbooba tweeted from her Fairview residence following her arrest.

Mehbooba accused the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led government of attempting to create a situation of communal disharmony in the region as she shared a picture of her residence from outside the main gate which is barricaded and a police vehicle guarding it.

She added that it "doesn't take a genius to figure out who will benefit politically by deepening mistrust & sowing seeds of division & hatred."

The police did not issue a statement on her arrest. However, sources said that she was barred due to security reasons. "She was visiting the Pandit families, and since it has become a very sensitive issue, especially after the release of The Kashmir Files, politics over it could flare up the situation," an officer said, wishing anonymity.

Film-maker Vivek Agnihotri's movie The Kashmir Files was marred by controversy after it drew ire from political parties, including the PDP, who said the film was “weaponising pain of Kashmiri Pandits.”

This is, however, not the first time Mehbooba, who is one of the firm critics of the J&K administration led by the BJP, was barred from travelling to victims of violence in the region. In November last year, days after an apple picker Shahid Ahmad was allegedly killed by security forces near a CRPF checkpoint in South Kashmir's Anantnag when Home Minister Amit Shah was visiting the region.

There has been a renewed violence against the minority community in the region as suspected militants carried out a series of attacks on civilians, including non-locals, since March, many of them in South Kashmir.

Last week, the PDP president travelled to North Kashmir's Kupwara and visited the home of a slain policeman. The latter was killed in the militant attack at Srinagar to offer her condolences to the family.

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