In the winter session of parliament, opposition MPs have raised the issue of Farooq Abdullah’s absence from the Lok Sabha. The former J&K chief minister has been in detention since the Centre decided to dilute article 370 and revoke the state’s special status.
Along with Abdullah, two other former chief ministers – Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah – are in jail. Dozens of other politicians who have taken part in elections at one time or the other are also in custody. Some are under house arrest, others kept captive in makeshift detention centres in Kashmir and even outside, in other parts of India.
Farooq Abdullah has been chief minister of the undivided and erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir three times. He has been a Rajya Sabha member for one term. He has thrice been elected as a Member of the Lok Sabha, most recently in May 2019, and served in the Union cabinet as a minister for a decade. He has been fielded by the government of India before international delegations as a democratically elected representative of the Kashmiri people.
Remember, for the past several decades, the diplomatic and political message the Government of India has sent out through elected leaders like Abdullah is that all talk of plebiscites and resolution of “the Kashmir issue” has lost its relevance since the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been asserting their aspirations via the ballot box.
In this episode of Beyond The Headlines, Siddharth Varadarajan unravels the government’s lies and points out the illegality of political detentions.