Srinagar, Mar 15 (InsideKashmir) National Conference (NC) president and MP Farooq Abdullah on Sunday appealed to all political leaders to unite behind the call to the union government to bring back all detainees lodged outside J&K.
‘Before we allow politics to divide us, I appeal to all political leaders here to unite behind the call to the union government to bring back all detainees from J&K in prisons outside pending their release. While we would like to see them all released as soon as possible, pending that they should be shifted to J&K,’ Dr Abdullah said in a statement issued here on Sunday.
This is the first statement issued by Dr Abdullah after being released on Friday.
Dr Abdullah said this is a humanitarian demand and he hope others will join him in placing this demand in front of the Union government.
‘I have consciously avoided making any political statements since I was released from detention on the 13th of March. While I believe a free & frank exchange of political views is essential so that we can take stock of the momentous changes that J&K has seen after August 5, 2019 we are still some way away from an environment where such political discourse will be possible,’ he said.
This, he said is especially so considering the number of people detained in August last year who remain in jails outside J&K. ‘I am acutely aware that compared to hundreds of Kashmiri families I have been far more fortunate. I was detained at home & my family had access to me. Yesterday, when I went to meet my son Omar, also detained under the Public Safety Act, I had to travel a kilometre from my home to be able to see him. For families of most of the detainees, meeting their loved ones is not nearly as easy,’ he said.
‘Their loved ones have been detained in jails spread across a number of states. They get two visits a month for which they have to spend large sums of money they can ill afford traveling to and staying in the vicinity of these prisons,’ he added.
‘The already onerous financial burden is made worse by the health risk they now face because of COVID-19. At a time when people are being advised not to travel, these families are being forced to put their lives at risk in order to meet their loved ones for a few short but very precious hours,’ he added.
Dr Abdullah, who is a former chief minister of J&K, met his son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah in a sub-jail in the summer capital, Srinagar, on Saturday following his release on Friday from detention after seven months under Public Safety Act (PSA).
Dr Abdullah drove from his residence to nearby Hari Nivas in Srinagar, where Omar Abdullah remained under custody under PSA since August 5, when the Centre abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated J&K into two Union Territories.
Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday revoked detention of Dr Abdullah after over seven months. The revocation of detention of the former chief minister comes just two days after Public Safety Act (PSA), which was slapped on him in September last year, was extended for another three months on March 11.
‘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 bearing No DMS/PSA/120/2019 issued by District Magistrate, Srinagar,” a statement issued by the newly created UT administration of J&K said.
Dr Abdullah and two other former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — besides dozens of other former ministers and legislators were detained on August 5.
However, the NC president was booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) on September 15, 2019 when MDMK chief Vaikoo approached the Supreme Court (SC), seeking directions to the government to allow Dr Abdullah to attend a peaceful and democratic annual conference in Chennai. The Gupkar residence of Dr Abdullah was turned into a jail for him and a large number of security force personnel remained deployed there.