Farooq neither under detention nor arrest: Shah in LS

Amit Shah in Lok Sabha. (PTI Photo)

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has neither been detained nor arrested and he is at his home of his own free will, Home Minister Amit Shah said in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

"He is well... if he does not want to come out of his house, he cannot be brought out at gunpoint," the minister said after Congress MP Shashi Tharoor expressed concern over Abdullah's absence during the debate on a motion to abrogate provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and a bill to split the state into two Union Territories.

NC leader Farooq Abdullah's son Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti have been arrested along with some other leaders in Jammu and Kashmir as a precautionary measure after the Centre revoked provisions of Article 370.

Earlier, NCP's Supriya Sule raised the issue of Abdullah, who sits next to her, being absent in the House, saying the debate will be considered incomplete without his participation.

Sule sits at seat number 462 in the House and Abdullah on 461.

To this, the Home Minister retorted: "He (Abdullah) is neither under detention nor under arrest. He is at his home of his own free will".

When Sule said that he is not well, Shah quipped "doctors can treat him, I can't do it".

Later, when Tharoor raised the same issue, Shah repeated that the NC leader was neither under detention nor arrested.

Sule also said that phones were not working in the state and she was not able to talk to Omar Abdullah.

She said that the environment in the state has not been cordial in the last few days and people are not able to get in touch with their near and dear ones.

People do not have any idea about what is happening in the state as schools and colleges are closed and hospitals services are not in place, Sule said.

She also said if the Centre can implement taxation and GST reforms in the state, why did it not implement the right to education as BJP-PDP government was there in the state.

Shah retorted that the then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti would not have agreed to it.

Sule said that in several bills it is being mentioned that they would not apply to Jammu and Kashmir but it was used selectively.

Citing the literacy rate of certain states including Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar, Sule said that she is not convinced that abrogation of Article 370 would have a positive implication on the education of Jammu and Kashmir.

"The environment which is prevailing in that state, why will the people of the state trust you. If you want to bring change, why did you not go for discussion," she said.

She added that the government is saying that no one can buy land in the state, but the issue is about giving a better life to the people of that state.

She asked what the government intends to do with other states which enjoy special provisions.

She also recalled the Naga framework being worked out by the Prime Minister saying that Nagaland is a unique state, and "the same goes for Jammu and Kashmir as well".

"Will this stand in the Supreme Court... dividing the state. When will you hold elections there," she said, adding now Ladakh will be a UT, "why cannot there be an assembly".

She alleged that the state Governor misled the nation as he had stated that Article 370 would not be abrogated.

"Make sure that the people in the Valley feel safe... We really need to know where are (PDP leader) Mehbooba Mufti and Omar. I hope they are safe," she asked. 

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