Mehbooba Mufti told to vacate official residence by Nov 15

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Mehbooba Mufti Asked To Leave Gupkar Road House By Nov 15; Offered Alternate Accommodation

In a setback for PDP supremo Mehbooba Mufti, the Jammu and Kashmir government turned down her request to retain her residence at Gupkar Road in Srinagar.

She and her family was staying in the Fair View Guest House since her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed became the J&K CM in 2005. The office of the Deputy Director Estates, Kashmir sent her an eviction notice on October 15 under Section 4 of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1988, read with the amended Act, 2016.

While former Chief Ministers of J&K were entitled to rent-free furnished accommodation earlier, the Centre repealed a state law in this regard in 2020. In another eviction notice issued to Mufti, the Deputy Director Estates, Kashmir reportedly highlighted that the grounds raised by her do not justify her retaining the Gupkar Road bungalow. Setting November 15 as the deadline to vacate the premises, the government requested the former J&K CM to shift to an alternate accommodation in Srinagar specially earmarked for her.

The notice sent to Mehbooba Mufti read, ” It has already been communicated to your good self that the Government is willing to provide you a suitable accommodation on security or any other ground(s). For this purpose, Government has earmarked Bungalow no. M-5, located at Tulsibagh area of Srinagar in your favour to accommodate your esteemed family and security personnel. Therefore, you are requested to kindly shift to the house so earmarked for your good self within a period of 3 weeks (i.e till November 15).”

 Mufti’s detention and subsequent problems

Former CM Mehbooba Mufti was detained on August 5, 2019, when Article 370 was abrogated. Thereafter, she was booked under the Public Safety Act. While she was shifted to her Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar which was designated as a subsidiary jail by the J&K administration in April, her detention under the PSA was extended on May 5 and July 31. Though her daughter Iltija Mufti had moved the Supreme Court in February 2020 seeking the PDP chief’s release, the matter was not listed for many months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, Mufti was released on October 13, 2020, barely a few weeks after the apex court commenced hearing the habeas corpus case. Subsequently, PDP became a part of the People’s Declaration for Gupkar Alliance and she was elected as the vice president of this coalition. However, differences within her party emerged after her categorical assertion that she won’t raise the national flag until the restoration of J&K’s special status. This led to a flurry of resignations with senior leaders leaving PDP. Mufti’s problems compounded with her party winning only 27 seats in the 2020 District Development Council polls.

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