‘We are not criminals,’ Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah writes to Tharoor

Srinagar: For the first time since incarceration, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah wrote an emotional letter to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. In it, Farooq says that the Centre should not treat a senior Member of Parliament this way, as they are not criminals.

“It is most unfortunate that they are not able to deliver me my post in time. I am sure this is not the way to treat a senior Member of the Parliament and leader of a political party. We are not criminals,” Farooq wrote in his letter.

Farooq’s letter was in response to the communiqué sent by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. “Thank you for your letter on October 21, 2019, which has been delivered to me today by my magistrate who looks after me while I am in the sub-jail,” Farooq wrote

83-year-old National Conference president and Srinagar MP, Farooq Abdullah, has been under detention since August 5, slapped with the Public Safety Act. The latter is a law usually used against militants, stone-throwers and separatists.

Tharoor described Farooq’s detention as an attempt to muzzle the voice of opposition. “Letter from imprisoned Farooq Saab. Members of Parliament should be allowed to attend the session as a matter of parliamentary privilege. Otherwise, the tool of arrest can be used to muzzle opposition voices. Participation in Parliament is essential for democracy and popular sovereignty (sic),” Tharoor tweeted along with a photo of the letter that he received from Farooq Abdullah.

Kashmir has been simmering after the abrogation of article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir. Official figures reveal that more than 5,161 people, including stone pelters, miscreants, overground workers, and politicians, were arrested since the abrogation of Article 370. These include three former chief ministers including Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, and Omar Abdullah.

While Farooq has been lodged in his home, designated as sub-jail, his son and another former chief minister Omar Abdullah is lodged in Hari Niwas palace designated as sub-jail. Last month Mehbooba Mufti was shifted from Cheshma Shahi hut to government bungalow given her deteriorating health in detention.

At least 31 leaders of National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Peoples Conference and J&K Peoples Movement, were under detention at Centaur Hotel since August.

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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