Former Jammu & Kashmir CMs Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who have been placed at Hari Niwas Palace under preventive detention, allegedly got into a nasty spat centred on BJP. The two have been placed at the government guesthouse after their detention last week by the administration. The fight between the two former chief ministers allegedly got so stormy that the authorities were forced to shift them to separate houses, reports Times of India.
The ministers reportedly got into an argument on who allowed BJP to find a foothold in the Valley. “Both were accusing each other of getting BJP into Jammu and Kashmir. At one point, Omar shouted at Mehbooba, taunting her and the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for aligning with BJP between 2015 and 2018,” an official of the hospitality and protocol department said on condition of anonymity.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti allegedly retaliated to Omar Abdullah’s barb with her distasteful riposte. “She reminded Omar that his father Farooq Abdullah had an alliance with BJP under Atal Behari Vajpayee. She told him loudly, ‘You were even junior minister for external affairs in the Vajpayee government’,” the official said.
She allegedly went on to blame Omar’s grandfather Sheikh Abdullah for J&K’s accession to India in 1947.
On realising that the argument between the two was taking a serious turn, the authorities concluded that separating them would be the best option, the official said.
While the administration shifted Omar to what he described as “a splendid hut” owned and maintained by the forest department in Chesmashahi, at the foot of Mahadev Peak, Mufti remained at Hari Niwas Palace.
Both the leaders had been detained by the Jammu and Kashmir police as a preventive measure on August 5. They, along with several political leaders of the state were already under house arrest since the previous night. The government had taken these precautionary measures to prevent any law and order situation as the separate status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir was withdrawn by abrogating provisions of Article 370 and abolishing Article 35A on August 5. The government also bifurcated the state into two union territories, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
An order addressed to Mehbooba Mufti by the executive magistrate of Srinagar had said that activities of Mehbooba Mufti are likely to cause serious law and order situation and breach of peace of tranquillity of the state. The order also said: “it appears that the former CM and others are about to meet and proceed in a procession, which will create further law and order problems”. It was speculated that Mufti was trying to leave her residence to arrange a protest.
After the presidential order changing the state’s status was tabled by Home Minister in Rajya Sabha, Mehbooba Mufti had posted a series of tweets strongly opposing the move. She had claimed that with the Articles gone, the accession of Jammu and Kashmir had become null and void. Omar Abdullah had also issued similar statements in media.
Meanwhile, the officials confirmed that the former CMs, among the 100-odd leaders of mainstream political parties who were detained, were being provided food “in accordance with the jail manual and their status”.