New Delhi: Union minister Jitendra Singh said that detained Jammu and Kashmir leaders would certainly be freed in less than 18 months. The detained leaders include former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooda Mufti. These leaders are under house arrest since August 4, a day before the abrogation of Article 370.

According to reports, Singh is the first to speak on how long the leaders could remain under detention. He added that the statehood would be restored in Jammu and Kashmir as the situation normalises. 

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Prohibitory orders are still in place in some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.  The authorities maintained that this is a preventive measure taken since the Centre revoked special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

Rajya Sabha on August 5 cleared the resolution to scrap Article 370 with two-thirds majority, along with another Bill to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir to two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Both were moved in the Lok Sabha, where the Bill was passed with ayes at 367 and noes at 67 out of the 424 votes.

Singh claimed that after the abrogation of Article 370, a new era of development would begin in Jammu and Kashmir and people of all sections of society would benefit. He stated that there was no place for anti-national and separatist activities under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.