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Mehbooba denounces party leader’s arrest, rues lack of free speech

Srinagar, June 7 (UNI): Alleging that anyone who questions the Centre’s draconian measures is conveniently labelled as a Pakistani agent, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said “it is a pity that our own institutions have stopped taking notice of such brazen human rights violations and instead the UN has to step in”.

Mufti, who is the president of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was responding to reports that the chargesheet filed against party leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra claimed that he was an agent of Pakistan-based militant groups and his 13 years’ journey was a ‘saga of subterfuge, deceit and double dealing’.

“Anyone who raises his voice against GoI’s draconian measures is conveniently labelled as a Pakistani agent. A pity that our own institutions have stopped taking notice of such brazen human rights violations and instead the UN has to step in,” Mufti tweeted.

The UN last week sought a response from the Centre on an alleged series of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, including the arrest of PDP youth president Parra and two other men.

Parra was arrested by the NIA about five days after he filed his nomination for District Development Council (DDC) election from Pulwama seat last December. However, he won after his family members and other PDP leaders campaigned for him though he was not allowed to take oath.

In January this year, Parra was granted bail by the NIA court, which said there was no reference to him in the original as well as the supplementary chargesheets presented in July and October last year, respectively.

But he was arrested on the same day by Counter Intelligence Kashmir, a wing of J&K police, in the case related to nexus between mainstream politicians and militants. Parra, who was instrumental in revival of PDP in south Kashmir, especially in militancy-hit Pulwama, continued to remain in jail since then.

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