Former Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patriarch Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday welcomed the release of senior National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah from detention and expressed the hope that it will be the beginning of the process of release of other leaders. Farooq Abdullah, who was under detention at his home in Srinagar for over seven months, was released on March 13.
Speaking to news agency, Badal said that the step was a welcome initiative of the central government and it would "help in boosting the country's image as a secular democracy".
"Respect for secular and democratic values is a prerequisite not only for peace, communal harmony and social stability but also a necessary condition for economic progress and prosperity to make India a leading global power," he said.
On March 13, the Jammu and Kashmir government revoked the detention order of National Conference chief and Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah. He then came to his terrace at his Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar, and spoke to media, stating that he is free now.
Many mainstream leaders in Jammu and Kashmir including Farooq Abdullah's son Omar and People's Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti have been also put under house arrest following the abrogation of Article 370 in last August that granted special powers to the region.
The former Chief Minister of J&K thanked the people of the state and the country for standing by his side and wished that the people of his state will be free soon but refused to comment on political affairs till all the state leaders including his son Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is released.
Rohit Kansal, the principal secretary of Planning, Development and Monitoring Department of Jammu Kashmir, posted a letter on Twitter on Friday, stating the government order. The order said that the government has decided to revoke the PSA imposed on senior Abdullah with immediate effect.
Abdullah and other J&K leaders were placed under preventive detention on August 5 last year ahead of the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state.
Earlier on February 6, the J&K administration slapped the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) against Mehbooba Mufti and former CM Omar Abdullah, reportedly a day before their detention was supposed to end. Apart from the above-mentioned leaders, Shah Faesel, Naeem Akhtar, Ali Mohammad Sagar, and Sarah Madni have been detained under the Public Safety Act by the Jammu-Kashmir administration since August 5.
Meanwhile, ex-PDP minister Altaf Bukhari along with 40 other leaders has launched Kashmir's new political front 'Jammu Kashmir Apni party', accepting the 'undeniable reality' of scrapping Article 370 by the Centre.