Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami on Tuesday criticised the central government for detaining former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah under the Public Safety Act. Tarigami, who is the first political leader from the state to address a press conference, said “people across the border are clapping” that the Indian administration had done what they could not, referring to Pakistan, PTI reported.

“We, Abdullah and others are not terrorists,” Tarigami said. “It is such a horrible time. I am very disturbed.” The former member of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly said the prevailing situation in the state was not in the country’s interest.

The CPI(M) leader claimed he was put under house arrest since the Centre’s August 5 order that revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the region into Union Territories. “It has been 40 days of restrictions but the government claims there is normalcy,” PTI quoted Tarigami as saying. “Do this in Delhi or any other city and see what is the situation of business, hospitals, schools and media.”

The leader also attacked the stand of the authorities that the situation in the state was under control. “They are claiming that no one has been killed,” he said. “I say people are slowly dying, there is suffocation in the state.”

Tarigami appealed to the government to listen to the people of Kashmir. “We also want to live, a Kashmiri, a Hindustani is saying this,” he said. “This is my appeal, please listen to us too. The average Kashmiri doesn’t ask for heavens, we just ask for a chance to march with you.”

The politician claimed that revoking the region’s special status showed the desperation of the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, according to The Hindu. Kashmiris joined India out of their own will, Tarigami said, adding that the bonds formed after hard work had been assaulted.

The CPI(M) said they will file a separate writ petition to challenge the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution. The politician said the primary problem was that people’s livelihood had been affected and that no one knew how long restrictions would remain in place.

Prohibitory orders are still in place in certain parts of Jammu and Kashmir, which authorities maintained were a preventive measure. Communication networks were also partially restored in some areas.

Tarigami said that his landline services were still down along with many other areas where his party colleagues resided. He also claimed that there were shortages of facilities, including medicines in hospitals.

The CPI(M) leader was shifted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on September 9 for treatment, following an order by the Supreme Court. The top court also allowed the leader to return to Jammu and Kashmir, and said he need not take anybody’s permission to go home if his doctors allowed him.

The court had earlier allowed CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury to visit Tarigami, following two of his failed attempts to visit the state.

Also read:

1. In Kashmir, the prolonged communication blockade is taking a toll on citizens’ mental health

2. The Daily Fix: Farooq Abdullah’s detention betrays the government’s nervousness on J&K

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