174 days after the Indian government struck down the quasi-sovereign status of the Himalayan region of Kashmir on Aug 5, a picture of former Cheif Minister of Kashmir doing rounds on the internet sporting a long white beard in detention has evoked mixed response from people. Many of the politicians expressed outrage over his continuous detention including Cheif Minister of Bengal Mamta Banerjee who tweeted that she couldn’t recognize him.
On Aug 5, the Indian government unilaterally revoked the constitutional status granted to Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian constitution and downgraded the disputed state into two Union Territories by rushing additional troops to the valley and snapping out the telecommunications. Prior to the decision, thousands of Kashmiri’s were put in detentions and many of them shifted outside of Kashmir.
While many of the Indian politicians condemned his continuous detention, many of the Kashmiri activists have ridiculed him for feigning innocence and doing little or nothing to prevent the killings of more than 100 young boys during his rule in the 2010 unrest of Kashmir.
Indian politicians are looked upon with suspicion by local Kashmiri’s who demand the resolution of the Kashmir conflict by conducting a UNSC recommended plebiscite. 21 politicians including three former Chief Ministers of Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah, and Omar Abdullah continue to remain in custody. Though many of the restrictions have been lifted, mobile phone internet is yet to see the light of the day. The communication restrictions have been regarded as the longest in a democracy.