Millennium Post

Apex court allows Mehbooba's daughter to meet her in Valley

A relieved Iltija says she will be finally meeting her mother thanks to the SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti's daughter to meet her in Kashmir, where she is under detention following the revocation of the state's special status a month ago.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi allowed the PDP chief's daughter Iltija to meet her after she submitted in court that she has no problem in going to their Srinagar home but has not been able to move freely in the city.

The bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer, noted that there was no problem in authorities permitting Iltija to travel from Chennai, where she is currently staying, to Srinagar to meet her mother. As far as moving around in other parts of Srinagar goes, Iltija can do so subject to the permission from district authorities, the bench said in its order. It also allowed Iltija's plea to meet her mother in private.

A relieved Iltija said she will be finally meeting her mother thanks to the Supreme Court.

"I feel a sense of relief that I will be able to see her. But my greater worry is that there seems to be no plan in place to end this siege that the state has witnessed for a month now," she said. Mehbooba is in detention in a hut at Chashmeshahi near the governor's residence Raj Bhavan in Srinagar.

"Today marks a month since a brutal clampdown was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir. Eight million people have been incarcerated and are living in constant fear, stripped of their rights and dignity.

"I had no choice but to approach the honourable court for justice. I will continue to speak my mind on what is right for Kashmir like any free and responsible citizen should," Iltija said in her reaction, adding she would be flying to Kashmir soon.

In her petition, Iltija said she is concerned about her mother's health as she has not met her for a month.

"From the deliberations that have taken place, we are of the view that the state government has not and does not intend to prevent the petitioner (Iltija) from coming back to Srinagar from Chennai, where she is presently staying and meeting her mother. The petitioner may accordingly return to Srinagar on a date of her choice. She would be free to meet her mother in private," the bench said. "So far as moving around in other parts of Srinagar is concerned, the petitioner would be free to do so subject to requisite permission from the district authorities as and when necessary," it added.

While advocate Nithya Ramakrishnan was making a submission that the petition was filed on behalf of Iltija seeking access to her mother as she has not met her for long time, Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said Mehbooba's mother Gulshan Ara and sister Rubaiyya Sayeed visited her on August 29.

They met her again with the permission of the district magistrate on September 3, the law officers said.

The solicitor general said the petition is not for the "ostensible purpose" but for other reasons.

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