SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI: The Jammu & Kashmir administration late on Tuesday revoked the detention of former CM and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti after 14 months and eight days. However, it didn’t mention any reason for her release before the end of the three extra months for which it had been last extended on July 31 this year.

Mehbooba had been detained under the J&K Public Safety Act of 1978 on August 5 last year after the Centre nullified Articles 370 and 35-A of the Constitution and bifurcated J&K into two Union Territories — J&K and Ladakh.

Her case was to come up in the Supreme Court on Oct 15. A reply had also been prepared, but it was decided that it was better to release her before the next hearing, sources in Delhi told TOI.

The UT home department order, effective immediately, said the “government hereby revokes the detention order of 5.2.2020 issued by the Srinagar district magistrate, which was last extended by the government for three months on July 31”. The order was signed by Shaleen Kabra, principal secretary to the J&K government. “Ms Mehbooba Mufti being released,” government spokesman Rohit Kansal said in a tweet.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti who has been in detention since August last year is being released, J&K administration spokesperson Rohit Kansal said on Tuesday. She was initially detained on August 5 last year when the Centre abrogated special status of the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Tagging a video which had snippets from his recent visits to Punjab and Haryana during which he held tractor rallies and public meetings against the laws, Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, "The farmers gave the country food security, and the Modi government only betrayed them. But not anymore."

The process to release Mehbooba Mufti appears to have its origins in J&K LG Manoj Sinha’s visit to New Delhi in the last week of September. “Obviously the long detention of Mufti came up for review during the LG’s meetings with the central government brass in Delhi, and it seems the overall opinion, particularly within the home ministry, favoured her release,” an officer of the J&K administration said in New Delhi.

It was only after the LG returned to Srinagar from Delhi that inputs were sought from various agencies — both Central agencies as well as the J&K administration and police — on whether the current ground situation in the UT was conductive for her release. Sources in the central intelligence agencies said the move to end her detention had been in the offing for at least a couple of months, with IB having favoured it, but a final decision was taken only after home minister Amit Shah had reviewed the matter with the LG after the end of his hospitalisation.

Mehbooba Mufti was being detained at her official residence, Fairview Bungalow, which had been declared a subsidiary jail. Mufti and Omar Abdullah were initially lodged at Hari Niwas Palace but Mufti was later shifted to a government hut at Chashme Shahi, and then to a VIP government house at Maulana Azad Road at the onset of winter last year before being moved to Fairview.

In August last year more than 40 mainstream leaders, including former CMs Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, and top politicians like Sajjad Gani Lone, were detained by the government under the J&K PSA to avoid any “incitement of violence” after the nullification of Article 370.

National Conference president and Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah was the first to be released, in February this year, followed by his son Omar Abdullah after the government revoked the Public Safety Act applied against them. However, Mehbooba Mufti was not released and was instead shifted from VIP government accommodation at Maulana Azad Road to Gupkar Road.

Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were initially lodged in Hari Niwas Palace but Mufti was later shifted to a government hut at Chashme Shahi, and then to a VIP government house at Maulana Azad Road at the onset of winter last year.

Iltija Mufti, Mehbooba’s daughter tweeted: As Ms Mufti’s illegal detention finally comes to an end, I’d like to thank everybody who supported me in these tough times. I owe a debt of gratitude to you all. This is Iltija signing off. May Allah protect you.”

NC vice-president Omar Abdullah said in his tweet that he was “pleased to hear that @MehboobaMufti Sahiba has been released after more than a year in detention. Her continued detention was a travesty & was against the basic tenets of democracy. Welcome out Mehbooba.” Sajjad Lone, too, tweeted to say it was “great news” and that she had “been through a very tough time”.

Sources in Delhi said all agencies favoured Mehbooba’s release as they felt the conditions were right as law and order had improved vastly and “no adverse impact or trouble was expected following the ex-CM’s release from detention”. The absence of any law and order disturbance after Dr Abdullah and Omar Abdullah were released is also said to have added to the agencies’ confidence.

The end of Mehbooba’s detention is expected to help revive political activity in J&K, something that “political appointee” Sinha had aimed for when he took over as the new LG from ex-bureaucrat G C Murmu.