Let’s unite to bring back detainees, Farooq tells parties
Srinagar, Mar 15:
NC president Farooq Abdullah on Sunday asked all political parties of Jammu and
Kashmir to jointly appeal to the Centre to bring back all detainees lodged
outside the union territory on “humanitarian” grounds.
In his first statement
after being released on Friday, the 82-year-old leader said he has been
consciously avoiding making any political statements since he was released from
He was initially
taken under preventive custody and later slapped with the Public Safety Act on
September 15, which was subsequently extended on December 13 and March 11.
while he advocated for a “free and frank exchange” of political views
in order to take stock of the “momentous changes” that Jammu and
Kashmir has seen since August 5 last year, “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”.
He said before
“we allow politics to divide us, I appeal to all political leaders in the
state to unite behind the call to the Union government to bring back all
detainees from Jammu and Kashmir from prisons outside the union territory
pending their release”.
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 and I hope others will
join me in placing this demand in front of the government of India,” the
former chief minister said
politician, who had gone to meet his son and former chief minister Omar
Abdullah on Saturday, said, “I am acutely aware that compared to hundreds
of Kashmiri families I have been far more fortunate.”
detained at home and 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
kilometre from my home to be able to see him,” he said.
however, for the families of most of the detainees meeting their loved ones is
not so easy.
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 amounts of money they can ill
afford travelling to and staying in the vicinity of these prisons,” the
National Conference chief, whose PSA was revoked by the JK administration on
Friday after being detained for 221 days, said.
Abdullah said the
already onerous financial burden is made worse by the health risk they now face
because of novel coronavirus.
“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,” he said.