Srinagar, Aug 14, KNT: Former Health Minister and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad met former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar on Saturday and condemned the arrest of the National Conference leader.
Ghulam Nabi Azad met Farooq Abdullah after the latter was finally released from a seven-month-long detention post the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
While talking to reporters, Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “I am happy I could speak to Farooq Sahab after more than seven months. He has been kept under detention. People who have committed a crime are usually detained like this but here they have been detained for no reason.”
He added, “I have not only come in my personal capacity but also on behalf of all the MPs and parties who have been constantly talking about his release.”
Azad criticized the government for imposing the stringent PSA on 82-year-old Farooq Abdullah. “The government has been really harsh on Farooq Sahab and others. Look at his health and age,” he said.
Azad also called for the release of political detainees in Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated the need for due political process to be followed in the state. “If Jammu and Kashmir has to progress then all political leaders under detention in Srinagar must be released. Political process must begin in Jammu and Kashmir. Elections must be conducted following proper procedure,” he said.
The Congress leader also demanded that Jammu and Kashmir, which was split into two Union Territories after the scrapping of Article 370, be given statehood again. “The decision to declare the state of Jammu and Kashmir as a Union Territory is an insult to the people of the state. It must be revoked. Jammu and Kashmir should be declared a state again,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Farooq Abdullah met his son Omar Abdullah in the sub-jail in Srinagar where he has been under detention for over the last seven months. Released on Friday after his detention under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) was revoked, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah drove from his residence to nearby Hari Nivas where his son, also a former chief minister, has been held first under preventive custody since February 5 under the PSA.
Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and other leaders, including another chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, were detained on August 5 last year, the day the Centre withdrew special status of the erstwhile state. The National Conference (NC) president was booked under the PSA on September 15 while his son was booked hours before his six-month tenure of preventive detention was to come to an end on February 5 this year. (KNT)