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Mehbooba: Will continue struggle for restoration of Article 370

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, who was released from detention after 14 months, has vowed to continue her struggle for the restoration of Article 370 and the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

She said the Centre's decision of August 5 was a "daylight robbery".

"We all have to pledge that we will take back what was snatched illegally, undemocratically and unconstitutionally on August 5 last year. We will also have to work for the resolution of Kashmir issue for which thousands of people have laid down their lives," Mehbooba said in an 83-second audio message on Twitter late on Tuesday night.

The PDP leader said it will not be an easy task as there will be difficulties in "this path but our steadfastness and determination will be our aides in this struggle".

The Centre had ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into union territories on August 5 last year.

Mehbooba also demanded the release of Kashmiri people languishing in various jails.

"As I have been released, all other persons (from Kashmir) who are detained in various jails across the country should also be released," she said.

Mehbooba was released on Tuesday night after the Union Territory administration revoked the Public Safety Act charges against her, more than a year after she was detained following the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The development came barely two days before the Supreme Court was to hear the matter related to her detention.

Mehbooba, 60, who was initially put under preventive custody on August 5 last year and later booked under the stringent PSA on February 6, was shifted to her official residence on April 7 after it was declared a subsidiary jail by the authorities.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was almost written off after most of its top leaders deserted it last year, but the scenes at the residence of party president Mehbooba Mufti after her release on Tuesday night following 14 months in preventive detention suggest that there is a lot of fight left in her.

From a 70-year-old party worker from south Kashmir to whatever remains of the senior party leadership, PDP members on Wednesday made a beeline to Fairview Bungalow -- the official residence of Mehbooba -- hoping to meet the woman who is now being dubbed by her admirers as the 'Iron Lady of Kashmir'.

She is ready for the fight, was the common refrain of those who met her.

The PDP is using social media to the hilt to enhance the image of Mehbooba, the first and last woman chief minister of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, by posting videos and photographs of her meetings with her party

workers.

Noor Mohammad, a party worker from south Kashmir who can barely stand upright due to old age, was among the people who met Mehbooba Mufti less than 24 hours after her release.

"I left home at 6 AM to ensure that I return only after meeting my sister and leader Mehbooba ji. Her father (late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) was blessed, so is she," the elderly man said.

The scenes at Mehbooba's residence were in complete contrast to last year when leader after leader deserted the PDP and later joined hands with Altaf Bukhari -- a former minister and close aide of the PDP president who floated his own political outfit later.

"Mehbooba Ji was detained for the longest period which shows how much the BJP government at the Centre is frightened of her popularity among the masses," Bashir Ahmad, a party worker from Anantnag district, said after meeting the PDP president.

Several PDP leaders, including former MLA from Wachi Aijaz Mir, posted laudatory tweets about the party leader.

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