MDMK chief and Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko on Wednesday filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court for allowing former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to travel to Chennai. The Tamil Nadu politician wrote in his petition that he had extended an invite to Farooq Abdullah for an event in Chennai on September 15 but he has not been able to contact the Jammu and Kashmir leader about the same.
In the petition, Vaiko has stated that for many years he has been organising a conference in Chennai for leaders from across the country on the occasion of the birthday of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister CN Annadurai. This year, the event is to be held on Sunday and Farooq Abdullah, who has attended previous editions of the conference had agreed to attend this year as well. However, last month Farooq Abdullah was put under house arrest in Srinagar and Vaiko has said that despite his efforts, he has not been able to reach him.
Vaiko added that he had written to authorities on August 29 to seek the permission of the Central government as well the Secretary, Home Department, Jammu and Kashmir, to allow Dr Farooq Abdullah to travel to Chennai but he failed to get a response.
Calling the actions of the government “completely illegal and arbitrary,” Vaiko states in the petition: “The refusal of the Respondents to allow Dr. Farooq Abdullah to attend the peaceful and democratic conference organised by the Petitioner is illegal and arbitrary and violative of Articles 21, 22 and 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.”
The MDMK chief has asked the Supreme Court to pass directions that the National Conference Chief be produced before it and be permitted to attend the conference in Chennai.
The National Conference Chief has been under detention at his residence in Srinagar since August 4. Ahead of the Presidential order removing the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, a massive clampdown was issued in Jammu and Kashmir. Many leaders in the Valley, including Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah’s son Omar Abdullah, were placed under house arrest and continue to remain so. Mobile and internet services were suspended in the state and while authorities deny any incidents of violence and dissent, there have been reports of protests and action by the government in the Valley.
On August 5, the government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution from Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will be a Union Territory with Legislature and Ladakh, a union territory without legislature.