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Rs 2.65 Crore Hotel Bill Raises Eyebrows as Govt Plans to Shift J&K Political Prisoners to New Location

Sources within the Jammu and Kashmir administration said that the political detainees, who include People’s Conference head Sajad Lone, will be shifted to an alternate location.

Aakash Hassan | News18.com@Aakashhassan

Updated:November 4, 2019, 1:01 PM IST
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Rs 2.65 Crore Hotel Bill Raises Eyebrows as Govt Plans to Shift J&K Political Prisoners to New Location
Security personnel stand guard during restrictions after the abrogration of Article 370 and bifurcation of State, in Srinagar, Saturday, September 28 , 2019. (PTI Photo)

Srinagar: Three months after detaining Jammu and Kashmir's mainstream political leaders, the government is now planning to shift the “prisoners” from the Centaur Hotel, located on the banks of Dal-Lake.

Around 31 mainstream leaders from parties including National Conference (NC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Conference remain under detention at the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC)-owned Hotel since Centre stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status under Article 370 and divided the state into two union territories.

“We are thinking of it and are looking for an alternate location,” a top official in the Jammu and Kashmir administration told News18. The detainees can be shifted, either to the MLA Hostel, which is located near MA Road or to another hotel in the city, sources added.

“We are unable to hold programmes at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) (which is adjacent to the hotel) because of the detainees in the hotel, which remains a sub-jail,” the official said.

In addition to this, the bills charged by the hotel have become a point of contention for the authorities.

The hotel management, official sources said, has submitted a Rs 2.65 crore bill to the Home Department for the three months of detention. The authorities have, however, argued that the hotel will get paid as per the government rates.

Officials said that the government was being charged Rs 5000 per detainee, but only Rs 800 will be sanctioned. The detainees who are put up at the hotel include People’s Conference head Sajad Lone, Ali Mohammad Sagar of the NC, Naeem Akhtar of the PDP and former IAS officer Shah Faesal.

According to the official, two people are being kept in one room. The detainees are being served only vegetarian food for lunch and dinner, except for one piece of chicken once a week.

Two former Chief Ministers of J&K, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah also remain under detention. Mufti has been lodged at the tourism department hut at Chashma Shahi and Abdullah is at the Nehru Guesthouse.

Three-time former chief-minister and incumbent Lok Sabha Member, Farooq Abdullah, is being detained at his residence under Public Safety Act (PSA). Officials said that there is no plan to move the three top-politicians.

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