Majid Kapra

Dr Farooq is back in circulation

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Says, will not make any political statement till other leaders are set free

Soon after his release, Dr Farooq, flanked by his wife Molie Abdullah, daughter Safia and grandson Adeem, speaks to media. PHOTO/Javed Khan

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah was released on Friday after he spent over seven months in detention, with the government revoking the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) under which he had been held at his residence here.

“I will not make any political statement till other leaders who have been detained at various detention centers including MLA Hostel are released as well,” said Farooq who quickly added that he will raise his voice on the floor of the Parliament.

The 82-year-old veteran politician had initially been taken into preventive detention on August 5, the day the Centre abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequently, the PSA was slapped on him on September 15 which was extended on December 13.

The December extension of PSA was due to end at midnight Friday and could have been extended for a maximum of six more months. However, it emerged that his PSA was extended on March 11 for another three months but was suddenly revoked Friday afternoon.

Abdullah, who was the first chief minister to have been booked under the PSA, appeared after 220 days before reporters and said, “Today, I am free but this freedom is not complete. It will be complete when other leaders like Omar, Mehbooba Mufti and others in outside jails are released.”

The Lok Sabha member from Srinagar, Abdullah, who was flanked by his family members including his wife Molie Abdullah, expressed gratitude to all the people including the leaders of the country who raised the issue of his detention in Parliament.

Dr Farooq Abdullah refused to make any ‘political statement’ after his release today stating that he would rather raise the series of events on the floor of the parliament.

He was referring to the series of events that took place in Jammu and Kashmir since August last year.

“I would also like to express gratitude to every individual who prayed for us … I will not speak on any political matter till others are released,” he said, not accepting any questions from the scribes.

Abdullah, who underwent an eye surgery earlier this week, expressed hope that he would be able to attend Parliament so that he can raise the voice of the people there.

According to an order issued by the Union Territory’s home secretary Shaleen Kabra, the PSA ordered by the district magistrate of Srinagar on September 15 and subsequently extended for three months each on December 13 and March 11 this year, stands revoked.

He was booked under ‘public order’ of the PSA, a provision that allows authorities to detain a person for three months without trial. This can be extended up to two years.

The decision to release the National Conference patron came hours ahead of the ending of his three-month detention period on Friday midnight.

Immediately after his release, the National Conference issued a statement welcoming the decision and also urged the Union Territory administration to release other political leaders including party vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah.

According to a statement issued by the National Conference (NC), the release of its patron from detention was the right step towards restoration of a genuine political process in Jammu and Kashmir.

It said the process would receive further fillip when party vice-president Omar Abdullah and other political detainees are set free. “We urge the government to do so at the earliest,” it said.

“As the pre-eminent political party of Jammu and Kashmir, the National Conference has played a key role in strengthening the voice of the people through democracy and will continue to do so,” the statement said.

Officials said District Magistrate Shahid Iqbal Choudhary entered the residence of Abdullah, who underwent an eye surgery earlier this week, and handed over the release order to him.

Abdullah’s son Omar as well as former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti were slapped with the PSA on February 6, the day on which their six-month term of preventive detention was to end.



Dr Farooq visits father’s grave offers prayers

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah visited his father Sheikh Abdullah’s grave, located on the banks of the Dal Lake at Hazratbal here, shortly after being released from his 221-day detention on Friday.

Accompanied by his wife Moile, grandson Adeem and other members of the family, Abdullah offered prayers at the grave of his father.

Dressed in a black over-coat, a traditional ‘Karakuli’ cap and dark sunglasses because of a recent eye surgery, Abdullah spent some time at the grave.

He could not offer prayers on his father’s death anniversary on December 5 last year as he was in detention under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).

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