Farooq Abdullah is not a terrorist, I am not a foreigner: CPI(M) leader Tarigami on detention

Bond created by the hard work of the people of J & K stands assaulted today

Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Former member of the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly, YousufTarigami who was under house arrest for over a month in Srinagar after the Centre abrogated Article 370 said at a press conference in Delhi that, “the bond that was created by the hard work of the leaders and the people of Jammu and Kashmir has been assaulted today.”

Expressing concern at the government’s decision to invoke the Public Safety Act (PSA) against former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah, CPI (M) leader MohammadYousuf Tarigami, who is in Delhi for treatment, on Tuesday said the NC chief is not a terrorist and condemned the move.

YousufTarigami was addressing a press conference in New Delhi. Tarigami had also been put under house arrest for a month when the Centre scrapped special status to Jammu and Kashmir, said, “I am not a foreigner nor are Farooq Abdullah and other leaders are terrorists. The situation in Kashmir is bad not because of the people of Kashmir but because of all of us politicians and politics.”Tarigami is the first leader to conduct a press conference after facing detention in Kashmir.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also said Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami would approach the Supreme Court on behalf of the party challenging the dilution of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir.

Tarigami further said the unity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir had been disrupted due to the decision of the government. “I feel shocked by the situation of Kashmir and how one decision has changed what the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir had negotiated with the founders of the Constitution.”“The bond that was created by the hard work of the leaders and the people of Jammu and Kashmir has been assaulted today. The people of Kashmir want nothing but a chance to march with the government, a chance to debate and discuss,” Tarigami further said.

On September 5, the Supreme Court ordered authorities to shift the ailing CPI(M) leader from Srinagar to AIIMS in New Delhi. The SC ruling came on a habeas corpus petition filed by Yechury, who was allowed to travel to Srinagar to visit the ailing leader last month. Yechury had filed a report, as directed by the Court, on his visit to the state.

On Monday, yesterday, the Supreme Court said Tarigami was free to return to his house in Srinagar. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer, said the ex-MLA does not need any permission to return home if doctors at AIIMS considered him fit enough to do so.

Sabrangindia’s co-editor Teesta Setalvad had interviewed Yusuf Tarigami in July 2016. The interview may be heard here.

Then again in 2018, as the BJP pulled out of the state government, we again spoke to this fiery communist from the Valley. That interview may be heard here.

The opposition party, the CPM on Tuesday rejected the Centre’s claim of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and said it is planning to move the Supreme Court on the latest situation in the erstwhile state after the government’s last month’s decisions.

Party general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who was accompanied by his party leader from Kashmir valley, Yousuf Tarigami, told a press conference that the party was filing a writ petition in the Supreme Court raising all the issues related to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the bifurcation of the state into two Union territories.

The court has fixed the first week of October for the hearing on several writs in this matter, he said.

“The real issue over there is of unemployment. For more than 40 days people are unable to earn daily wages. Secondly, the lack of public transport is forcing people who are employed to stay off from their jobs.”It is clear that the ground situation is completely the opposite of what the government is claiming, the feeling is that the state has been insulted by bifurcating it into two Union territories,” Yechury said.

He thanked the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for allowing him to visit Kashmir and for allowing Tarigami to come and get treated at the AIIMS. The court has said he is free to decide when to return to the valley and what he wants to do, Yechury said. Concurring with Yechury’s statements, Tarigami said he would only speak on what the “average Kashmiri is feeling.”

“We have seen difficult times in Kashmir, disruptions, death and everything … l we have seen it all. But this is perhaps the most gloomy time. When I see the very foundation of unity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India is getting assaulted by those who are mandated to protect those, I feel nothing but shocked,” he said.
He also appealed to the people of the country to listen to the voice of the Kashmiris and said the problem could be solved only through political discourse.

“I want to appeal to all citizens to India to listen to the voices of Kashmiris. They have been listening to just one version for all this while. The average Kashmiri just wants a chance to march with you. I had told Modi in 2016 too that the Kashmir crisis was not created by soldiers and it cannot be solved by them. It was the blunders of politicians,” he said.

Expressing disappointment with the way in which the decisions were taken by the Centre, and what has followed since, Tarigami said, “We did not have many expectations from this regime but we never thought this could become so desperate. They say there is normalcy in Kashmir, 40 days have passed now. Try this anywhere else. Try this in Delhi. Shut off the internet for seven days, disrupt all communications and see what happens.”
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