Killing time in detention leads Omar to play video games, Mehbooba to praying, reading


Srinagar:It’s been 12 days since the two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir were detained and cut off from the world as the state was put under an extensive lockdown. After National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti were moved to separate locations to keep them from quarrelling, the two leaders have been keeping themselves busy with video games and books.

Abdullah and Mufti were initially lodged at the Hari Niwas Palace, but were later moved to separate locations after the two got into a bitter spat following the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.

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The two former chief ministers have been put in subsidiary jail and guesthouses have been converted to house the VIPs. While Omar Abdullah is spending his time playing video games, Mufti is keeping herself busy by praying and reading books.

Omar Abdullah has been a tech savvy politician, keeping a tab on social media with over a million followers. On August 4, before being put under house arrest, he wrote on Twitter, “I believe I’m being placed under house arrest from midnight tonight & the process has already started for other mainstream leaders. No way of knowing if this is true but if it is then I’ll see all of you on the other side of whatever is in store. Allah save us”.

After the clampdown, he was taken away from the Gupkar residence to Hari Niwas where he asked for video games to kill time. Authorities initially denied his request as most video games require internet. However, Omar said he can play the older versions of these games that do not require internet.

Mehbooba Mufti, on the other hand, spends solitary time at the JKTDC-owned hut at Chashme Shahi with her books.

The two leaders were initially lodged at Hari Niwas Palace but were separated after a verbal spat.

During their stay at the palace, sources said Mehbooba Mufti saw from her room that Omar was taking a walk on the palace grounds. She insisted that she too be allowed to walk. On being denied, a security official said she shouted out to Omar and said that Kashmir was in such a crisis because of the policies of the Abdullah family.

The eyewitness said that Omar retorted and instead blamed Mehbooba Mufti for tying up with BJP to form the previous government. Authorities then decided to keep the two leaders at separate places and Mufti was shifted to Chashme Shahi.

Sources say Mufti’s trusted DSP, who was on her security duty, was shunted out after he raised an objection to the room she was allotted.