National Conference (NC) leader and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah’s contentious detention was a clear signal of the Centre’s contempt for Kashmiri representation, the NC said in Srinagar, on Friday, asserting that the absence of the top party leadership from the political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir was neither in favour of the country nor the newly formed Union Territory.
“The prolonged detention of party president Farooq Abdullah, vice-president Omar Abdullah, (general secretary) Ali Mohammad Sagar and others and their constant absence from the political landscape of J-K is not in favour of the country in general and J-K in particular,” senior NC leader and Member of Parliament from north Kashmir Mohammad Akbar Lone said.
In a statement Lone said the Centre has created a “dangerous vacuum” reversing all the gains of the past two decades by denigrating mainstream politics in Kashmir.
“It was our party which had to shoulder the coffins of its scores of leaders and thousands of workers to reinstate the faith of people in democracy and rule of law. The diplomatic edge of the country at international forums has also incurred heavy dents,” he said.
The NC leader, while decrying the “callous process of demonisation and vilification” of the tallest representative voices of J-K, said, “They were the ones who stood the turbulent times braving odds in a place which has been fraught with conflict and terrible consequence of it.
“The continued incarceration of tall representative voices, former chief ministers, sitting Members of Parliament is not a good omen.The measures of the central government have delegitimised everything the mainstream politics in Kashmir stood for. By detaining Farooq Abdullah, a sitting MP, the Central government has sent clear signals of its contempt for Kashmiri representation.”
Lone said it was “disrespectful” to have a sitting MP, whom former Prime Minister late A B Vajpayee had referred to as “third party to Kashmir,” in confinement.
“One is at its wits end to ascertain what good will serve it to push genuine peoples’ representatives to (the) wall, crowding them out.Furthermore, any political process in J-K minus NC is not credible,” Lone said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti(PDP chief), who were under preventive detention for the past six months, were on February 5 booked under the PSA without charges, barely hours before their arrest was to come to an end.
Under PSA, a person can be detained without trial for up to two years. Senior Abdullah was slapped with the stringent PSA on September 17 last year which was reviewed by authorities on December 15, 2019, and it was agreed that he would continue to remain in detention for another 90 days.
The law was enacted by Farooq Abdullah’s father Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah in 1978 initially to check timber smuggling.
The PSA, which came handy for the police force to book separatists and militant sympathisers, has two sections — ‘public order’ and ‘threat to the security of the state’. The former allows detention without trial for six months and the latter for two years.
Several political leaders were picked up from their residences on August 5 last year, the day the Centre had withdrawn the special status given to J-K under Article 370 of the Constitution and divided the state into two Union Territories — Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.