In detention, Farooq Abdullah turns to religion

Srinagar; National Conference President and MP Farooq Abdullah has turned to religion in his home in Srinagar that has been declared a sub-jail by the J&K administration.

Known for his humour, Farooq now reads the Quran and reads ‘Namaaz’ five times a day, sources said. His house, G-40, at Srinagar’s posh Gupkar Road is sandwiched between the houses of his younger sister Suraiya and elder daughter Safiya.

Safiya had put up a black flag, seemingly as mark of protest against the revocation of special status of J&K, outside her house. The J&K administration has justified the slapping of PSA on the NC president on the grounds that he has “tremendous potential to create public disorder in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley”.

The administration has cited several instances since 2016 when he made statements in conflict with the law.

Farooq was booked under PSA a day before the Supreme Court on September 16 asked the Centre and J&K administration to respond to a plea by MDMK General Secretary Vaiko that the former J&K Chief Minister be produced before the court. Vaiko had sought Farooq’s release so that he could attend a conference in Chennai.

NC MP from Baramulla Akbar Lone said there is no justification for slapping PSA on the NC president.

“If anybody stood for India in Kashmir it was Farooq Abdullah. And this is how they are paying him back,” Lone said. The J&K High Court had permitted Lone and Hasnain Masoodi, NC MP from Anantnag, to meet Farooq at his residence.

“I met him,” Masoodi told IANS.

“We wanted to enquire about his health as he has a heart condition.”

He said he also met former Chief Minister and Farooq’s son, Omar Abdullah, who has been kept in preventive detention at Hari Niwas. “Omar has grown beard,” he said. “He is in good spirits.”

It is believed that if J&K politicians like Farooq stick to their stand that rescinding of the special status is unacceptable and unconstitutional, it would weaken New Delhi’s case on Kashmir and encourage Pakistan.

There is agreement in Kashmir that adverse statements by politicians like Farooq against the removal of J&K’s special status would undermine New Delhi’s efforts to pacify the international community on Kashmir. It would also embolden mainstream politicians and their supporters to agitate against the Centre.