The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to allow senior party leader Mohammed Tarigami, who has been held under house arrest in Srinagar since the government scrapped sections of Article 370 on August 5, to be shifted to AIIMS for better medical care. In its statement, the party also claimed Mr Tarigami's house arrest was "illegal" as there were no charges against him and no detention order had been issued.
Earlier today the top court overruled the Attorney-General's statement that Mr Targiami was getting necessary treatment and said priority had to be given to his health, instructing that he be shifted to AIIMS in Delhi and be accompanied by a family member of his choice.
"Keeping in view the fact that CPI(M) leader, (Mohammed) Yousuf Tarigami needs better treatment, he shall be shifted to AIIMS, Delhi, from Srinagar," a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told the court he had no objection to Mr Tarigami, 72, being shifted to Delhi, but added that the party reserved the right to challenge his being "unlawfully restrained".
The Supreme Court order comes after Mr Yechury filed an affidavit on the medical condition of his colleague, in which he claimed that security restrictions had affected his mental and physical health.
"The restrictions imposed on his family, and access to medical and emergency assistance have aggravated his severe and chronic health conditions and had an impact on his mental health and family," Mr Yechury wrote on Monday, adding that it was "clear Mr Tarigami has been unlawfully restrained".
Mr Yechury, who had twice before tried to visit Mr Tarigami in Srinagar, only to be turned back from the airport each time, had filed a habeas corpus petition before the Supreme Court last month, asking he be allowed to visit the four-time former MLA, who he said was in ill-health.
The centre argued that Mr Yechury's visit appeared to be "political" and would "adversely affect the situation" in Jammu and Kashmir.
Despite the objections the court allowed Mr Yechury to visit his colleague on condition that he file an affidavit on Mr Tarigami's condition on his return.
"We will allow you to visit. You are going only to meet your friend? A citizen of this country wants to meet his friend. What's the difficulty?" the Chief Justice had observed.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under a state-wide lockdown since the government announced its decision on Article 370 on August 5. In an attempt to avoid any backlash, phone and internet connections were suspended, more than 50,000 additional troops were stationed and large gatherings were banned. Hundreds of political leaders have been arrested, including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
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