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Asked to leave Govt Residence, Mehbooba Mufti to move to Sister’s House; View exclusive photos

After the government of Jammu and Kashmir asked her to leave the government residence on Gupkar Road, former Prime Minister Mehbooba Mufti moves to her sister’s home under construction in the outskirts of Srinagar.

Mufti will move into the two-storey house with her mother, daughter and staff and security personnel in Khimber, an area between hills and apple orchards and poplar fields. The house belongs to her younger sister and brother-in-law who are doctors in America. The administration has given her a new deadline to move by the end of November: a 15-day extension according to the message sent to her.

Mehbooba Mufti's sister's house in Khimber suburbs of Srinagar, with security outside
Security outside the house. Photo/News18

The government had previously asked Mufti to vacate Fairview’s official residence on November 15, but when the former CM asked that she need more time, she was given another two weeks to vacate the house intended for the prime ministers. According to a new order passed in 2020, former CMs of the former J&K state are not entitled to reside in the “designated” CM house.

Mufti’s new residence is more than 20 km away from both Fairview and Lal Chowk’s party office. It can be reached by a narrow road from the emblematic Harwan Park. Another 20 minute drive takes you to her new address, a secluded spot in the lap of the mountains. Unlike Fairview, which borders the lush green hills of Zabarwan, Khimber is a work in progress and the hills appear barren, although the route from Harwan is both scenic and a little difficult to secure as it passes through dense apple orchards, poplars and dense stretches.

The house looks sturdy from the outside, but the interior will take months to complete. The plumbing lines need to be repaired for the leaks, front lawn leveling and extension dumps. “A lot of work has to be done, but the lady is going to move before the deadline,” a confidant told News18. He said that Mufti and her daughter Iltija regularly monitor the work.

Mufti, he said, made a conscious decision not to move to her Nowgam residence in Srinagar, which was built by her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in the 1990s and where she started politics under his mentorship. Formerly with Congress, the father-daughter duo built the new party called Peoples Democratic Party brick by brick in the late 1990s.

In 2002, senior Mufti became Prime Minister with the support of Congress.

“Her brother lives in Nowgam and the family has decided to leave it that way,” the confidant told News 18, adding that despite the drawbacks of distance and terrain, she chose Khimber.

Although the government has offered her government accommodation in a secure area in Tulsibagh, Mufti apparently turned down the offer because she feels “at home” in Khimber.

Since the new address is far from the city center and workers will have a problem with an off-route, Mufti will be in the party office in Lal Chowk for meetings twice a week. Last week, she hinted that she would be leaving the Fairview residence, saying her shift is “a non-issue” and there were more serious problems for people.

Mufti is not the only politician who has been ordered to leave the government house. Former Prime Minister Omar Abdullah also had to give up his ‘official’ whereabouts. In Jammu, a formerly fired BJP minister was also told to release his government residence.

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