Shashi Tharoor tweets letter from ‘imprisoned Farooq saab’, nudges Centre
Tharoor argued that participation in Parliament was essential for maintaining “democracy and popular sovereignty” and cautioned against using the “tool of arrest to muzzle opposition voices”.Updated: Dec 06, 2019 05:41 IST
Congress’s Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted a letter purportedly written by detained National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah on late Thursday night and demanded the NC chairperson be allowed to attend Parliament as a matter of “parliamentary privilege”.
Tharoor argued that participation in Parliament was essential for maintaining “democracy and popular sovereignty” and cautioned against using the “tool of arrest to muzzle opposition voices”.
“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,” tweeted Tharoor.
The posted letter allegedly written by Farooq Abdullah is the first such communication from the 82-year-old detained Lok Sabha member from Srinagar after the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status enshrined in Article 370 and the former state’s bifurcation into two union territories.
Abdullah says he is in a “sub-jail” and complains that posts are not being delivered to him “on time”. It goes on to say that this was “not the way to treat a senior member of the Parliament and leader of a political party”.
“We are not criminals,” says Abdullah’s sign off comment on the letter dated December 2, 2019.
The letter appears to have been written on Abdullah’s official letterhead as a Member of Parliament and bears the official seal along with the leader’s name and designation. It mentions Abdullah’s address as “Sub-Jail, 40 Gupkar Road, Srinagar”.
Abdullah’s letter starts with an acknowledgment that he had received Shashi Tharoor’s letter dated October 21 after much delay. He goes on to complain that Tharoor’s letter was delivered to him by the magistrate who looks after him in the sub-jail on December 2, 42 days after it was written.
Abdullah and several other top Kashmiri leaders including his son Omar Abdullah and PDP’s Mehabooba Mufti were put under preventive detention to contain the fallout of abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.
Several opposition parties have demanded that former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Abdullah be allowed to attend the Parliament and participate in debates over the situation in Kashmir. The Central government has assured the phased release of all the leaders in the near future.