Farooq Abdullah's sister, daughter detained

Suraya Mattoo (2nd L), sister of Kashmiri political leader Farooq Abdullah and aunt of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah who both remain under house arrest, and Farooq's daughter Safiya (R) take part in a protest held by the civil society group Women in Kashmir against human rights violations in the region and the removal of the special status of Kashmir, in Srinagar on October 15, 2019. (Photo by HABIB NAQASH / AFP)

Jammu and Kashmir police on Tuesday detained half a dozen prominent women, including the sister and daughter of National Conference (NC) president and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah during a protest rally against abrogation of Article 370 here. 

Abdullah’s sisters Suraiya and Khalida, his daughter Safiya and former J&K Chief Justice Bashir Ahmed Khan's wife Hawa Bashir, leading a group of over a dozen women activists wearing black armbands, emerged at Pratap Park near city center Lal Chowk at around 11:30 am.

Carrying placards which read: 'Don’t Deceive Indians,' 'Resist To Exist,' and 'Kashmir Brides Are Not For Sale.' the protesters tried to hold a sit-in in the park. However, they were not allowed by the police personnel to assemble and were asked to disperse peacefully. As the protestors refused to disperse women CRPF personnel rounded them into police vehicles. 

The police also tried to stop the protesting women from distributing a statement to the media covering the protest. The statement read: “We the women of Kashmir disapprove the unilateral decision taken by the government of India to revoke Article 370, 35A and downgrade and split of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.”

“We feel betrayed, humiliated and violated as people and demand restoration of civil liberties and fundamental rights to the citizens. We demand demilitarization and immediate release of detainees,” it read.

They also expressed their outrage against the national media for their “false/misleading” coverage of ground realities in Kashmir.

Before being detained Suraiya Abdullah told reporters that they were locked inside their homes on August 5 while Article 370 was abrogated. “This is a marriage by compulsion which won’t work. We want our identity back,” she asserted.

This was the first public protest against the abrogation of Article 370 by parliament on August 5.

Abdullah, also an incumbent MP, is undergoing detention since August 5 and was subsequently booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) by the government last month. His son Omar Abdullah, also a former chief minister has been detained at nearby Hari Niwas Palace while PDP president and another former CM, Mehbooba Mufti is lodged at a government guest house in Cheshmai Shahi, Srinagar since August 5.

Over three dozen high profile political leaders, including former ministers and legislators, are also undergoing detention at Centaur hotel-turned-subsidiary-jail in Srinagar while some have been kept under house arrest.

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