A welcome step

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The UT administration has finally revoked the detention order under Public Safety Act of former Chief Minister and sitting MP Dr Farooq Abdullah. The decision has been hailed by all political voices in Jammu and Kashmir. Dr Farooq is the senior most political leader of Jammu and Kashmir and his party National Conference is the biggest party. Following revocation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir State into two union territories, the senior Abdullah was put under house arrest and later booked under PSA on September 15, 2019. Besides him, his son and former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, another former CM, Mehbooba Mufti too have been booked under PSA and continue to remain in detention. Peoples Conference Chairman, Sajad Lone was released from sub-jail MLA Hostel but has been put under strict house detention.

Now that PSA of Dr Farooq has been revoked, need is to let free all the political prisoners. They are the people who have close connect with the masses. Jammu and Kashmir needs restart of a political process and it can’t take off if the heads of three major political parties – NC, PDP and PC – are kept in confinement. Political governments, no matter how lousy these may be, are still better than bureaucratic rule. Bureaucrats don’t have any communication with masses and therefore can resolve the issues confronting the public. They are much concerned about their APRs and people are of no or very little priority. This winter, the failure of the administration in restoring road connectivity and electric power is a clear example of a deep disconnect between public and the administration.

In this backdrop, one would suggest that all political prisoners are released and allowed to freely mingle with their respective party people. They should be allowed full political space so that political process in J&K is back on rails. The New Delhi’s priority should be to encourage political activities and make preparations for the conduct of clean and fair assembly election. Like other places in the country, people of Jammu and Kashmir too have a right to choose their own representative and this right should be granted to them sooner than later.

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