Detained Kashmiri politicians find solace in religion

Detained politicians Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar, Mehbooba Mufti find solace in religion

Omar Abdullah (L), Mehbooba Mufti (C) and Farooq Abdullah (R) who are under detention for the last seven months. (PTI Photos)

Detained mainstream politicians, including three former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, who are under detention for the last seven months, seem to have found solace in religion.

Flamboyant Farooq Abdullah, the president of National Conference (NC) and former chief minister, who has been detained at his posh Gupkar residence under Public Safety Act (PSA) offers namaz (prayers) five times a day and extensively reads Holy Quran, which is keeping him in high spirits, an official told DH.

"Farooq sahib has turned into an ardent namazi. Besides, he reads the Quran and also encourages his security personnel around to offer Namaz," he said.

The 84-year-old had taken to religion after his kidney transplant surgery in 2014. But he has stepped up his engagement with faith now - a dramatic shift for somebody who had a "happy-go-lucky image."

Last month former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief A S Dulat had met Abdullah but details about their talks were not known.

Meters away from Farooq’s residence, his son Omar remains under detention at Hari Niwas, the palace of erstwhile Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh. Omar, who was chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir from 2009-2014, is into reading and does a rigorous workout and follows a strict diet, the official said.

"He (Omar) begins his day with exercise. Besides, he reads a lot and these days. He is reading contemporary fiction. His food comes from his home and is brought regularly by his butler. He is particular about his diet," he added.

On posh MA Road in Srinagar, the last chief minister of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has been detained at House No. 6 near Transport Yard. "She prays and watches television. Besides, she has long chats with her family whenever they come to meet her. She turns emotional whenever her mother comes for a meeting," the official said.

Three senior politicians – Ali Muhammad Sagar of NC, Naeem Akhtar and Sartaj Madni of PDP - detained under PSA at M-5 on Gupkar Road pass their time reading and watching television. "It is Sagar sahib among the trio who is reading Islamic literature. They pray five times a day. Sometimes they pray together. They also have a regular chat," another official said.

The 2010 IAS topper-turned-politician, Shah Faesal, reads a lot and every week, new books are brought to him by his relatives. "He also takes a stroll regularly," he said.

Dozens of high profile politicians, including three former chief ministers were taken into custody on August 5 last year, the day when the Centre announced the abrogation of special status to the erstwhile state besides its bifurcation into two union territories - Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

While most of the leaders were released gradually, Farooq, Omar, Mehbooba and leaders considered loyal to them are still under detention.

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