Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recited a couplet in Kashmiri by poet Pandit Dinanath Kaul to indicate the Modi-led government's outreach, and translated it in Hindi before elaborately presenting the Union Budget 2020 in the Parliament. The poem 'Humara Watan', referring to the spirit of Kashmir was met with clamorous protest by the Opposition leaders. The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday approved the Budget for the financial year beginning April 1, that may see measures to lift the economy from the worst economic slowdown in 11 years.
Nirmala Sitharaman recited the poem and translated it in Hindi, "Humara watan khilte hue Shalimar bagh jaise, humara watan Dal lake mein khilte hue kamal jaisa, nau jawanon ke garam khoon jaisa, mera watan tera watan, humara watan, duniya ka sabse pyara watan." (Our country, like a blooming Shalimar garden. Our country, like the lotus blossoming in Dal Lake. Like the hot blood of the youth, my country, your country, the world's dearest country.)
The poem that referred to Shalimar Bagh and Dal Lake in Kashmir, comes at a time when Jammu & Kashmir still faces restrictions citing 'preventive measures' since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. Amid her recitation, some Opposition leaders were heard shouting "Farooq Abdullah" the Srinagar MP who has been detained since August 5 and slapped with Public Safety Act (PSA). Noises of 'Kashmir toh jail hai abhi' (Kashmir is a jail now) could also be heard, in reference to the continued detention of mainstream political leaders and heavy security measures.
The three-term Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and Srinagar MP, Farooq Abdullah is confined in his Srinagar residence, which is now declared as a sub-jail. 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. The 82-year-old Abdullah, who became the first chief minister against whom the stringent public safety law was invoked, has a heart pacemaker implanted and had undergone a kidney transplant a few years ago. The PSA has two sections -- 'public order' and 'threat to the security of the state'.
Nearly a month after the detention of former chief ministers of the then state of Jammu and Kashmir--PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, were permitted to meet with their families. Omar Abdullah’s sister, Safia and her children, were granted 20 minutes of visiting time on September 1. Meanwhile, father Farooq Abdullah's request to meet his son back in September was repeatedly rejected. Mehbooba Mufti’s mother and sister were granted permission to meet her at Hari Niwas in August.
Internet blockade began in Jammu and Kashmir on the night of August 5 last year, a day prior to the revocation of Article 370. Broadband internet services were restored in emergency facilities like hospitals and government officers. Meanwhile, 2G internet is functionale for the rest of the union territory. The direction to restore limited data came two weeks after Supreme Court's order.