Will the Release of Farooq Abdullah End the Political Standstill in J&K?

Farooq Abdullah
Farooq Abdullah [ File photo]

We know that several eminent political leaders including the former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir had been detained under the Public Safety Act in the aftermath of the historical abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two union territories. Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah has been finally released from detention after nine months on Friday. 

Soon after his release from detention, Farooq Abdullah said that now that he was out, he would raise the voice of the people in parliament. He said, “Today I don’t have words. I am free today. Now I will be able to go to Delhi and attend the Parliament and speak for you all” during his first address in Srinagar after being released after staying nine months under detention.

Earlier, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had revoked the stringent Public Safety Act against Farooq Abdullah. Farooq Abdullah is a five time parliamentarian and the member of the present Lok Sabha, with immediate effect.

According to the 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 on December 13, stands revoked.

Farooq Abdullah has been kept under detention since August 5, 2019 when Article 370 was abrogated and the special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir was taken back.He was the first chief minister against whom the PSA was invoked.

This stringent PSA was slapped on him on September 15. This provision allows authorities to detain a person for three months without a trial. This can be extended to two years if the authorities feel the need to do so. While reacting to the release of his father-in-law from detention, Congress leader Sachin Pilot said that he hoped that soon Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah are also released.

The release of former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah after nine months of detention will surely bring a stir to the stagnant political waters of Jammu and Kashmir, with both New Delhi and regional parties in wariness about the next political move that may be upcoming. 

The Centre had experienced great political pressure from the international community to release democratically elected leaders in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Slapping of the Public Safety Act(PSA) for the third time on Dr. Farooq Abdullah would not have been taken well by the Opposition within the country as well. The timing of the release of Farooq Abdullah is enough to reveal how strong the pressure has been upon the Centre to release him. The political ecosystem of Jammu and Kashmir had been seeing a standstill and had almost been suspended after August 5, when the entire political class begins from regional leaders to separatist leaders were rendered irrelevant by the unprecedented clampdown upon the state. It is quite evident then that now all eyes would be on Farooq Abdullah, after the long standing political standstill in the erstwhile state. 

It will indeed be interesting to watch out for Farooq Abdullah’s next steps . For now, Farooq Abdullah has made it clear that he will not comment on political matters till all leaders are released.

 

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