National Conference president Farooq Abdullah at the Durga Nag Temple in Srinagar on Oct 24.(PTI Photo)
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah at the Durga Nag Temple in Srinagar on Oct 24.(PTI Photo)

Jammu and Kashmir admin prevents Farooq Abdullah from attending prayers: National Conference

J&K political leaders condemn the action as ‘gross violation of rights’; BJP terms it a good step taken due to security reasons
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Srinagar
PUBLISHED ON OCT 31, 2020 02:28 AM IST

Former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah was allegedly prevented from leaving his house on Friday to offer prayers at a holy shrine in Srinagar to mark the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, the National Conference (NC) said, terming the incident a violation of his fundamental rights.

The party alleged that the Jammu & Kashmir administration has deployed scores of police personnel, blocking the exit to Abdullah’s residence to prevent him from leaving for Hazratbal.

“J-K administration has blocked the residence of party president Dr Farooq Abdullah and stopped him from offering prayers at Dargah Hazratbal. JKNC condemns this infringement of the fundamental right to pray, especially on the auspicious occasion of Milad Un Nabi SAW,” the NC said in a tweet on its official Twitter handle.

Farooq Abdullah, who represents Srinagar in the Lok Sabha, was supposed to visit the Hazratbal shrine, on the banks of the Dal Lake, to pray there on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, which marks the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad and it is observed in the month of Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar.

An office-bearer of the NC familiar with the matter said the administration informed the 83-year-old parliamentarian that he would not be allowed to go due to security reasons.

No official from the administration responded to the requests for comments on the matter.

Political leaders in Jammu & Kashmir condemned the action.

Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said the move exposed the administration’s “deep paranoia”.

“Preventing Farooq sahab from offering prayers on Milad Un Nabi SAW at Hazratbal exposes GOI’s deep paranoia and their iron fist approach towards JK. It’s a gross violation of our rights and is highly condemnable,” she tweeted.

Farooq Abdullah is also the head of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration’s (PAGD) -- a new multi-party political grouping in the Valley that seeks the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, which until last August gave special status and privileges to the region, and for the restoration of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, which has been divided into the Union territories of J&K and Ladakh -- and Mufti is the vice-president.

In a statement, PAGD spokesperson Sajad Lone criticized the UT administration, saying its actions infringed upon Abdullah’s religious rights.

“We strongly condemn the actions of the state administration, which is tantamount to interference in the religious rights of Dr. Farooq Abdullah. This marks a new low in the curtailment of the fundamental rights of the people of J&K. We demand that the blockade be removed so that Dr. Farooq Sahib is able to perform his religious duties.”

There was a controversy surrounding remarks by Abdullah earlier this month, when he suggested that “China’s might” may help with the restoration of J&K’s laws and status to what they were before August 5, 2019..

He was recently questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the alleged misappropriation of funds of the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association. Abdullah, who was the president of the association when the alleged irregularities took place, has denied any wrongdoings, and his party ahs described this as “political vendetta”.

State spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party, Altaf Thakur, said that Farooq Abdullah has been giving statements which are threat to security. “At Hazratbal there are large number of people assembled for prayers and due to security issues he (Farooq Abdullah) must have been prevented from going there which is a good step.”

Javeed Ahmad, a political analyst, said: “There are large number of gatherings at Hazratbal on Friday and Farooq Abdullahs speech could have been problem for government.”

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