Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has shared a letter by former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who criticised the centre for not allowing him to attend the winter session of parliament.
Mr Abdullah, and another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, whose Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in an alliance with the BJP, and hundreds of political leaders are under arrest in one of the two newest Union Territories. The other is Ladakh.
"Thank you for your letter on 21st October 2019 which has been delivered to me today by my magistrate who looks after me while I am in the sub-jail," Mr Abdullah said in the letter. "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," the National Conference chief said.
The centre maintains the continued restrictions on the political leaders are necessary to prevent them from fanning trouble.
The opposition Congress has been raising in parliament the issue of prolonged political detention in Jammu and Kashmir, alleging that the centre is not freeing Mr Abdullah to stop him from speaking up.
"Letter from imprisoned Farooq saab. 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 for democracy and popular sovereignty," Mr Tharoor tweeted along with the letter.
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. pic.twitter.com/xEQ45klWCb— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) December 5, 2019
Mr Abdullah has been charged under the Public Safety Act, a stringent law that enables detention without trial for up to two years.
This is was first time that this law has been used on a mainstream politician, especially an MP and a three-time chief minister. Usually, it has been used to arrest terrorists, separatists or stone-throwers. It was Mr Abdullah's father Sheikh Abdullah who brought the law in 1978 to prevent timber smuggling.