What will the government gain by targeting 82-year-old Farooq Abdullah?

ED summons to former Jammu & Kashmir CM Abdullah likely to forge stronger solidarity among non-BJP parties

Farooque Abdullah

If it was any other time, any other political party, or any other part of the nation, news debaters would be screaming about the merits of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioning Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah over his alleged connection with the Rs 113 crore Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association scam of 2012. Politicians opposing him would weigh in from their moral high horses. And everyone would demand he be jailed, or protected, depending on which side of the political divide they sat on.

However it is not any other time. And none of that has happened. What in fact may soon happen is the forging of political solidarity with the 82-year-old Abdullah, a political veteran respected across ideologies for his leadership skills. He had found similar solidarity when he was also detained along with other leaders in Jammu and Kashmir after its bifurcation following the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 2019. Once released, he and his party stood up for those still detained, including another ex CM Mehbooba Mufti, and once she was released, Abdullah has managed to unite the opposition to start afresh. 

Soon after Farooq Abdullah was questioned on Monday by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the 2012 cricket scam, many stood up in protest and have called it “vendetta” against the formation of an alliance to fight for the restoration of Article 370. ED that he initiated last week. “Failing to fight him politically, BJP employing its agencies to target Dr Farooq Abdullah,” stated his party Jammu and Kashmir National Conference.

The party spokesperson stated, “The ED summon to Dr Farooq Abdullah is clearly the result of the unity that Dr Sahib has been able to forge among mainstream political parties in J&K. This is the price one faces when opposed to BJP’s ideology and divisive politics. Recent history is a witness to how BJP has been employing coercive and intimidative measures through various departments to target opposition leaders across the country. The recent ED summon to Dr Farooq Abdullah is a case in point.”

The statement added, “The timing of the recent summon is very clear. His previous summons were just before Aug 5 last year and today’s summon comes within days of forming the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration of which Dr Farooq Abdullah has taken a lead. Dr Farooq Abdullah continues to maintain his innocence and will cooperate with the authorities in what is nothing but a witch hunt.”

Messages of solidarity have begun pouring in: “The Modi govt will fail in its unscrupulous efforts to browbeat  Dr Abdullah to fall in line” said CPIM leader Sitaram Yechury.



“ED’s sudden summon to Farooq sahab displays the extent of GOIs nervousness about mainstream parties in J&K fighting as one unit…  won’t in the least blunt our collective resolve to fight for our rights,” stated Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti.



On Monday, a few days after he had hosted a meeting of opposition leaders at his residence, Abdullah, the National Conference president and Srinagar Lok Sabha MP, was summoned and questioned from 11am by ED officials at its Srinagar office. As reported by The Telegraph, and others, even after the daylong grilling, Abdullah vowed not to give up his struggle for the restoration of Article 370. He, however did not link this questioning with the recent political developments in the Union Territory, but told the media, “We have a long way to go. We have a long political battle. That fight will continue whether Farooq Abdullah is alive or whether Farooq Abdullah is dead.” 

Abdullah added, “Our resolve has never changed, our resolve will never change even if I am to be hanged. It is the struggle of people of Jammu and Kashmir, not Farooq Abdullah’s.” According to the news report NC leader said he was not scared of the ED, and used his typical sharp humour to make the point that this did not affect him in any way, “My only regret is that I could not have my lunch today. I could not bring my lunch here.” 

This is not just a quotable quote from the veteran leader. It reflects the mood of the newly formed People’s Alliance, that it knows its motto to “fight for restoration of Article 370” is one that has a long political life of its own.

The scam surfaced in 2012 over allegations of misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 113 crore in the JKCA, then headed by Abdullah. The money was sent by the BCCI to the JKCA, reported The Telegraph. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court handed over the case to the CBI in September 2015 and the ED joined the investigations with the filing of an FIR. The news report added that the ED filed a chargesheet in July last year against Abdullah and three others for allegedly misappropriating Rs 43 crore, amid unprecedented uncertainty ahead of the August 5 abrogation of Article 370. Abdullah then claimed he had done no wrong and was open to investigations.

According to the BJP spokesman and former Brigadier Anil Gupta the party has nothing to do with the ED investigations. The news report quotes him as saying: “Blaming the BJP for all their woes has become a political compulsion for the National Conference. Dr Farooq Abdullah did not consult the BJP when it created the scam. At that time he used both hands to muster the money and today when he is being questioned for that he is blaming the BJP and its ideology. The case was already going on. The timing of the investigation, when they want to investigate or question, is decided by the agency. They are not BJP agencies, they are agencies of the government of India. They ate autonomous bodies.”

As politics in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir reactivates after over a year of lockdown, this move by an investigation agency may add fuel to its engines.



All rights snatched from us should be returned

This will rebound on you, you will have to answer for your misdeeds: Farooq Abdullah

Cannot forget the insult of August 5: Mehbooba Mufti

MHA: Over 200 still detained under PSA in J&K



Related Articles