Farooq Abdullah, after his release from detention, called on the political leaders to unite and urge the government to bring back all detainees from Jammu and Kashmir in prisons. The National Conference (NC) chief and Srinagar MP was charged under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).
"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," added Farooq Abdullah, calling it a 'humanitarian demand.'
Citing financial burden and the added health risk due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Abdullah stated that the families of those imprisoned are being put to risk. He said, "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."
A 15-member delegation of the National Conference (NC), led by its provincial president Devender Singh Rana, will meet party chief Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar on Sunday, NC sources said. Besides Rana, the delegation will comprise senior NC leaders, including former ministers and legislators, the sources said, adding that Ajay K Sadhotra, Surjeet Singh Slathia, and Javed Ahmed Rana were among those who will visit Abdullah on Sunday. The prevailing political and security situation in the Union Territory is likely to come up for discussion during the meeting, they said.
First visuals of Omar Abdullah, his father Farooq Abdullah and family surfaced on Saturday afternoon, as the two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir met each other after almost eight months, since the abrogation of Article 370. In visuals, the Abdullah family was seen outside Omar Abdullah's sub-jail, wherein he has been detained since the passage of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
Former chief ministers of Jammu & Kashmir--Farooq Abdullah, along with his son Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, and other mainstream Kashmiri leaders were placed under detention, citing 'preventive measure' on August 5, prior to the passage of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisational Bill, 2019. Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti continue to stay in detention along with other leaders including Shah Faesal and Sajad Lone.
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 political0 views is essential so that we can take stock of the momentous changes that J&K has seen after 5th August 2019 we are still some way away from an environment where such political discourse will be possible. This 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 kilometer 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. 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 & staying in the vicinity of these prisons.
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.
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. This is a humanitarian demand & I hope others will join me in placing this demand in front of the government of India.