Soon after the Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday revoked the detention order of National Conference chief and Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah, his first picture surfaced. He then came to his terrace at his Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar, and spoke to media, stating that he is free now.
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. He also said that he cannot comment on political affairs till all the J&K leaders including his son Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is released.
"Whether it is print or television - I am heartily grateful to media. I am also grateful to all the people of the state and all the leaders and people in the rest of the country who spoke for our freedom. I am also grateful to every individual who prayed for us. Freedom is not complete. It will be complete when all leaders - Omar, Mehbooba ji or all the others who are in house arrest will be released. I hope the government of India will take action and release everyone if they want the people of the state to live as free people. I will answer no question. I can't speak on any political matters. It is only when everyone is released that I will be able to speak on political matters," he said.
He added: "Thank God this gate is open. We tried for many months for this gate to open. Today I don't have words to say how I feel today. I am free, I am free. I hope the people of the state will be free. Let's pray to God that we may see true freedom for which we have been trying for long. God bless you all, God bless people of the state."
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. On the following September, the government slapped the NC patron with the Public Safety Act and extended it for three more months on December 16.
Govt issues orders revoking detention of Dr Farooq Abdullah pic.twitter.com/tcBzkwY7dI— Rohit Kansal (@kansalrohit69) March 13, 2020
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. Previously on December 14, Omar's father Farooq Abdullah's detention was extended by another three months by the Jammu-Kashmir administration. On Friday, the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the administration on a plea by Abdullah's sister - Sara Pilot challenging Omar's detention.
Under the Public Safety Act, an individual can be detained for up to two years, without a trial. Incidentally, the act was introduced by Farooq Abdullah's father, Sheikh Abdullah in 1978. Despite being detained under the Public Safety Act, oddly, the 81-year-old mainstream politician was recently included in a 21-member consultative committee on defense by the government.
While several minor politicians have been released in a phased manner by the administration, political leaders Ali Mohammed Sagar, Naeem Akhtar, Sartaj Madani, and Hilal Lone have been charged under the PSA along with Omar Abdullah and Mufti. Meanwhile, former PDP minister Altaf Bukhari-led 'new political front' comprising of senior political leaders, academics, legal luminaries, activists is set to meet PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to demand the restoration of statehood and domicile rights. Since the revocation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories, the state is under lockdown. Though markets and road transport has been improving, locals are still being targetted by terrorists. The Centre has stated that train services, hospitals and other services have resumed normally.