We Are Not Criminals, Says Farooq Abdullah

NEW DELHI –  “We are not criminals,” says Lok Sabha member and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah in a letter to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on his personal letterhead which mentions his residence as “sub-jail”.

Abdullah, under detention since August 5 and subsequently booked under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) on September 17, is at present at his residence in Gupkar which has been declared as a sub-jail.

Abdullah is among a host of political leaders who have been detained on August 5 after the Centre withdrew special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into union territories.

Tharoor, a Lok Sabha member from Kerala, had written a letter to Abdullah on October 21 which was delivered to him on December 2. The contents of the letter were not available.

In his one paragraph reply, Abdullah, a three-time former chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, thanked Tharoor for his letter.

He said the October 21 letter was delivered to him on December 21 by the magistrate who looks after him in the sub-jail.

“It is most unfortunate that they are not able to deliver me my post in time. I am sure this is not the way to treat a senior Member of the Parliament and leader of a political party. We are not criminals,” Abdullah wrote in his reply, which has been shared by Tharoor on his Twitter handle.

In his tweet, Tharoor said parliamentarians should be allowed to 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 (for) democracy and popular sovereignty,” he added.

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