“I will not speak on political matters until everyone else is released,” words by Dr. Farooq Abdullah after his release.
A former Union Minister and National Conference President, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, also a sitting parliamentarian from Srinagar, finally walked free after a gap of seven months on Friday. He was detained under Public Safety Act,1978 since September 2019. He remained under prevention detention along with two other former Chief Ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, since August 5 last year, the day the Centre abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah stepped out of his home in the company of his British wife and close family members waving at the media persons and well-wishers.
Dr. Abdullah’s release is seen as another major political development in Jammu and Kashmir close on the heels of the launch of Jammu and Kashmir Apni party, floated by former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) minister Syed Altaf Bukhari.
The government order issued by the Principal Secretary, Home Department, Shaleen Kabra stated, “In exercise of powers conferred under section 19 (1) of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 the government hereby revokes the detention order dated Sep 15, 2019, issued by the District Magistrate, Srinagar, extended for a period of three months and then extended for a further period of three months of Dr. Farooq Abdullah R/o Gupkar road, Srinagar with immediate effect”. “I am free but I will not speak on political matters until everyone is released,” Dr. Abdullah said.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah stepped out of his home in the company of his British wife and close family members waving at the media persons and well-wishers. He was served the government order revoking his detention by the district authorities on Friday afternoon.
In his first reaction to media, he said, “Today I don’t have words, the way I feel today, I am free…” But he added that this freedom would not be complete unless all the leaders in detention were freed”. When media persons tried to extract his reaction to current political developments in the region, Dr. Abdullah announced: “I will not speak on political matters until everyone else is released”.
Under the Narendra Modi government, “Democratic dissent is being muzzled by coercive administrative action, which has threatened the basic ideals of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity as enshrined in our Constitution,” the resolution reads.
“I hope my people will be free. The people of this state will be free. Let us pray to God that we get true freedom for which we have been trying for so long,” he said. Dr. Abdullah also extended thanks to all fellow parliamentarians who stood behind him. “I thank all parliamentarians who fought for my freedom. I will be able to take a decision on the future only after other leaders are released,” he said.
Earlier, leaders belonging to different opposition parties had also sent a joint resolution to the BJP-led government, demanding the immediate release of all political detainees in Kashmir, especially the three former Chief Ministers – Farooq and Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. Under the Narendra Modi government, “Democratic dissent is being muzzled by coercive administrative action, which has threatened the basic ideals of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity as enshrined in our Constitution,” reads the resolution.
National conference demand release of Omar Abdullah
Immediately after his release, the National Conference (NC) also issued a statement welcoming the decision and also urged the union territory administration to release other political leaders including party vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah.
According to the NC statement, the release of its patron from detention was the right step towards the restoration of a genuine political process in Jammu and Kashmir. It said the process would receive further fillip when party vice-president Omar Abdullah and other political detainees are set free. “We urge the government to do so at the earliest,” it said.
On the other hand, Iltija Mufti, daughter of PDP president and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who operates her mother’s Twitter account posted series of tweets. In her first tweet, she said, “Time to release all detainees including thousands of young men languishing in jails outside J&K. This has gone on for far too long; must end now.”
Ms Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister J&K to whom this twitter handle belongs has been detained since 5th August 2019 without access to the account. This handle is now operated by myself, Iltija daughter of Ms Mufti with due authorisation.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) September 20, 2019
In another tweet, she said, “Today as Dr. Farooq Abdullahs disgraceful detention comes to an end, I hope political detainees including my mother & young boys jailed outside J&K are released immediately. Their detention is a blot on democratic credentials of this country”. The state unit of the Congress party also welcomed the decision of the government to revoke the detention order of Dr. Farooq Abdullah.
Today as Dr Farooq Abdullahs disgraceful detention comes to an end, I hope political detainees including my mother & young boys jailed outside J&K are released immediately. Their detention is a blot on democratic credentials of this country
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) March 13, 2020
Chief spokesman of Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee, Ravinder Sharma termed the decision as delayed but a welcome move. He said, “Congress has always maintained that detention of all mainstream leaders is totally illegal and against the basic spirit of the democratic system. Hope better sense prevails and detention of other mainstream leaders are also revoked and they are set free without further delay”.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.