As Kashmir completed four months of unprecedented communication and movement lockdown, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor shared a letter by former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah, who called out the government for not allowing him to attend the winter session of parliament.
Former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti, whose Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in an alliance with the BJP, are among hundreds of local political leaders who are under arrest in one of the two newest Union Territories.
“Thank you for your letter on 21st October 2019 which has been delivered to me today by my magistrate who looks after me while I am in the sub-jail,” Mr Abdullah said in the letter. “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,” the National Conference chief said.
Letter from imprisoned FarooqSaab. 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 4 democracy&popular sovereignty. pic.twitter.com/xEQ45klWCb
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) December 5, 2019
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has given no certain date for when the lockdown will be uplifted. Calling it a ‘preventative measure’ the Centre has detained thousands of Kashmiris including Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah under the Public Safety Act, which allows the authorities to detain an individual without trial for two years.
The opposition has been raising the issue of prolonged political detention in Jammu and Kashmir, alleging that the Centre is not freeing Abdullah to stop him from speaking up.
“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,” Tharoor tweeted along with the letter.