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Modi greets Farooq Abdullah on NC chief’s 82nd birthday

Out in the open: Security personnel outside the residence-turned-jail of National Conference president Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar. Nissar Ahmad

Out in the open: Security personnel outside the residence-turned-jail of National Conference president Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar. Nissar Ahmad  

The greetings were conveyed in a letter handed over to the National Conference in Srinagar last week

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent greetings to National Conference (NC) president and Srinagar Member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah on the latter’s 82 birthday.

The greetings were conveyed in a letter handed over to Dr. Abdullah in Srinagar last week.

Dr. Abdullah’s birthday was on October 21, and Mr. Modi, in his greetings, prayed for the former Chief Minister’s long and healthy life, party sources said.

Dr. Abdullah remains incarcerated after the government booked him under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and lodged him in his own house on Gupkar Road, which was designated as a sub-jail. The move was made in the wake of the Centre’s decision to scrap J&K’s semi-autonomous status on August 5.

Interestingly, the greetings come even as Dr. Abdullah’s own party decided against issuing any statement on his birthday. 

Earlier, in the first week of September, the government denied permission to NC leaders to pay tributes to party founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah on his death anniversary.

Mr. Modi’s letter also comes days after BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav’s scathing attack on the NC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Srinagar. He accused many detained leaders of encouraging “youth to pick up guns”. He even warned the regional leaders of prolonged detentions in case they attempted to mobilise people on streets against the Centre’s decision.

Pretty shameless, says Congress leader

 After the BJP’s tough stand, the Prime Minister’s greetings has surprised many. “You have to be pretty shameless to send a birthday greeting to a person you have detained under the draconian Public Safety Act,” said Congress leader Salman Anees Soz. 

NC leaders, however, refused to comment on the issue. However, in a joint statement after the greetings, the party said:

“NC cannot remain mute spectator to the sufferings of the people, which have multiplied manifold in the recent months. We hope Girish Chandra Murmu, the Lieutenant Governor designate, will utilise his proximity to the Prime Minister to bring some sort of normalcy in the turbulent region and work towards restoration of peace. 

“We hope Mr. Murmu will analyse the situation on the ground with objectivity and take corrective measures with a sense of urgency to instil sense of confidence and security among the people, especially in the Kashmir Valley, which is shut for over 85 days now.”

It also demanded the immediate release of all mainstream political leaders and described the action against them as “unconstitutional and unprecedented”.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 8:52:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pm-modi-greets-farooq-abdullah-on-82nd-birthday/article29812786.ece

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