Farooq and Omar feel betrayed, says Safia Abdullah
“My brother Omar and father Farooq Abdullah feel betrayed by the manner in which the the Centre has treated them and abolished the special status of Jammu and Kashmir,” said Safia, the first member of the Abdullah family to break her silence on the detention of the two National Conference leaders in the wake of the August 5 abolition of J&K’s special constitutional status, according to The Wire report.
Srinagar: "My brother Omar and father Farooq Abdullah feel betrayed by the manner in which the the Centre has treated them and abolished the special status of Jammu and Kashmir," said Safia, the first member of the Abdullah family to break her silence on the detention of the two National Conference leaders in the wake of the August 5 abolition of J&K's special constitutional status, according to The Wire report.
Safia Abdullah Khan also expressed her shock at the arrest of her father under the Public Safety Act (PSA) on September 15, revealing that he was served the orders of his detention under the draconian act at 11:30 pm that night.
"He was asleep at the time and the Magistrate along with other officials woke him up. They first inquired about his health and then handed over a dossier explaining the grounds of his arrest," she said.
A former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and currently member of parliament from Srinagar, Farooq Abdullah is the most high profile victim of the PSA, which allows the authorities to detain 'first time offenders' for at least three months without trial.
The PSA was introduced in 1978 by Farooq Abdullah's father and NC founder Sheikh Abdullah to tackle timber smuggling.
However, over the years, the law has been widely used against separatist leaders and activists, stone-pelters and militants.
Safia, who lives next door to her father's house, said it was only in the morning, after she took her two children to school, that she came to know about the imposition of PSA on her father.
Safia said she immediately tried to enter the house "but was not allowed". "It was a nerve-racking moment for me. I pleaded with the authorities to at least let me talk to my father via the intercom.
After hearing my father's voice, I broke down," Safia said with moist eyes. After receiving medical attention, Safia said she went to meet her brother Omar Abdullah, who is vice president of the NC, at the Hari Niwas subsidiary jail.
"Omar had come to know about [the imposition of PSA] through the authorities. It was a complete shock for him as well," she said.
Given Farooq Abdullah's ill health, the authorities allowed Safia to visit her father for medical attention, but not before she had to run around town to make the arrangements.
"It was terrible to see my childhood home turned into a jail. I never imagined that I would need permission to enter my own house," she said. "But all these hardships have made me a strong person. Today, I feel I am Sheikh Abdullah's granddaughter."
On challenging Farooq's detention under the PSA, Safia said the family would decide about it in the coming days.
"We (family) are in touch with a battery of lawyers. As of now, we are exploring all legal options available to us," she said.
Terming the grounds under which her father has been slapped with PSA as "laughable", Safia said the dossier he was handed contains newspaper clips of his political speeches since 2017.
Safia said both her brother and father feel "betrayed" by the manner in which the Centre abolished Jammu Kashmir's special status.