House detention of political leaders in Jammu ends

Decision taken in view of BDC elections
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Oct 1: Ahead of elections to the Block Development Councils (BDCs), the Government today ended house detention of almost all prominent political leaders of National Conference, Congress and Nationalist Panthers Party (NPP) in Jammu region to facilitate their political activities.
Prominent National Conference leaders-Devender Singh Rana, Surjit Singh Slathia, Sajjad Ahmed Kitchloo and Javed Rana, Congress leader and former Minister Raman Bhalla, Nationalist Panthers Party (NPP) leader Harshdev Singh, also a former Minister and some other political persons, who were under house arrest since August 5 following scrapping of special Constitutional provisions of the State and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, have been freed, sources said.
All the political leaders detained in Jammu region were informed through concerned police stations that they were free to carry out their political activities now, they said.
Police officials, however, downplayed the end of house arrests of the politicians saying they were already free visiting New Delhi, shrines, temples, hospitals, attending functions and carrying out other normal works.
Devender Singh Rana, provincial president of National Conference and Surjit Singh Slathia, former Minister confirmed to the Excelsior that their house detention ended this evening. They said they were conveyed the decision to end the house detention by the police officials.
Raman Bhalla said he got the message from police station late tonight. He described his nearly 55-day long detention in house as “completely unjustified” and “undemocratic”.
Panthers party leader Harshdev Singh said he told police officials yesterday that he will forcefully defy his detention in the house for past nearly two months and move out in view of announcement of the BDC elections. He said he received the message about end of his house detention tonight with conditions that he won’t give any controversial statement.
Sources said some other political leaders, who were under house arrest in Jammu region, have also been freed in view of the BDC elections, scheduled to be held on October 24.
PCC (I) president GA Mir, who was also detained in his house at Greater Kailash earlier, was presently in New Delhi.
It may be mentioned here that number of political leaders of National Conference, Congress and Nationalist Panthers Party were put under house arrest on August 5 the day the Central Government announced abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A and bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The step was taken as precautionary measure to prevent instigation of people.
However, following announcement of the Block Development Council elections in the State and that too on party-basis, the demand had grown for release of political leaders.
“The decision to end house detention of the political leaders has been taken keeping in view the Block Development Council elections,” sources said.

Notification issued
Chief Electoral Officer, (CEO), J&K, Shailendra Kumar, today notified dates for the conduct of election of the Chairpersons of the Block Development Councils (BDCs) in the State.
In a notification issued here under section 36 of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, the Election Authority, (Chief Electoral Officer, J&K), announced October 1 as the date of issuance of the Gazette Notification while October 9 has been kept as the last day for making nominations. The date for the scrutiny of nominations is October 10 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is October 11.
The CEO has also said that the date on which the poll, if necessary, will he held from 9 am to 1 pm on October 24 and counting will start at 3 pm on the same day, unless notified otherwise.
The CEO also said that election will be completed before November 5.
The Election Authority further said that election will be held in all blocks of 22 districts with the exception being in district Srinagar where election will be held in all blocks except Srinagar block. In Budgam in all blocks except S K Pora, in Shopian in all blocks except Kapran and in Kulgam in all blocks except Pombay and Manzgam.


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