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Detention or Paid Vacation – Critics Continue To Question Detention Of J&K Leaders

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Some of the Kashmiri politicians who were jailed post the abrogation of the special status on August 5, 2019, from J&K, at the plush Centaur Lake View Hotel have cost the Government a whopping four crores rupees approximately for the first three months according to reports.

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Documents show the hotel bill at Rs 3,90,39,220 including lodging charges of Rs 2,76,18, 633 for the 40 odd politicians excluding the expenditure incurred on the detention of the three former Chief Ministers including Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. While Farooq was jailed at this residence, Omar was detained at the Harinivas Palace while Mehbooba was kept at a separate government accommodation.

As per official records, the hotel charges Rs 5,720 plus GST on a double room per day while Rs 7,920 plus GST was charged on suites per day. The hotel during this period provided 6,786 special meals to the detained politicians.

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According to media reports, the Government so far has paid only Rs five lakh while the remaining amount is being “negotiated.” Each room was equipped with ACs apart from LED TV sets, 24×7 hot and cold water and regular housekeeping services. The detained politicians were also given laundry facilities unlike a typical jail where they would have had to wash their clothes.

Reports in local J&K media also highlighted that politicians were allowed frequently allowed to meet with their families. “Special curd was brought for former J&K minister Nayeem Akthar from his home. He took some of the curd and rest was being distributed among all 33 detainees,” said a relative of one of the detained political leader.

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Likewise, for Sajjad Lone, chocolates and fruits were brought from his home by his relatives and acquaintances which were also shared among the leaders who till last year were his sharp critics.

The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) accused the government of providing five-star facilities to detained Kashmir leaders in five-star hotels and called it an organised loot of taxpayers’ money.

“What kind of detention is this? This is an organised loot of taxpayers’ money,” JKNPP chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh told reporters.

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Singh said the government had detained the leaders on August 5 on the grounds of threat to the peace and security. He alleged that Kashmir leaders were lodged in posh Kashmir hotels fully equipped with all luxuries rather than confining them in jail or in their homes as was done in the case of Jammu-based political detainees.

“While the BJP was claiming all over of having sternly dealt with the Kashmir leadership and having subjected them to the rigours of law for their anti-national utterances, the facts spoke otherwise,” Singh said.

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