Article 370 debate in Lok Sabha: Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday informed the Lok Sabha that former chief minister and PDP president Farooq Abdullah was neither detained nor arrested but was "sitting at home out of his own free will". Shah said this while responding to NCP leader Supriya Sule who said that the ongoing debate in the Lower House would be incomplete without Abdullah.
Speaking on the proposed Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, Sule said: "I sit on seat 462, Farooq Abdullah sits on seat 461. He is elected from Jammu and Kashmir but we can’t hear him today. This debate will be incomplete if you ask me." She was referring to the reports that suggested that all three chief ministers - Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah - were arrested. Earlier on Sunday night, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were taken under preventive custody but by Monday evening they were arrested, TV reports said.
Responding to Sule, the Home minister said: "Farooq Abdullah has neither been detained nor arrested. He is at his home out of his own free will." But moments after Shah’s comments, Farooq Abdullah spoke to news channels and rubbished the Home Minister’s claim and said that he had been placed under house arrest.
"I am arrested in my house. Nobody was allowed to come inside…DSP was posted at my doors…whatever the home minister says is baseless," Abdullah said while speaking to News18. Expressing shock over the revocation of the special provisions under Article 370, the PDP president said: "How can India do this? It is something that I never thought would come ever. It is an absolute dictatorship."
The central government has placed restrictions on regional leaders to avoid any mass protests that may worsen the law and order situation in the troubled state as both of them had begun public mobilisation.
Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi today demanded that the Centre release the arrested leaders. In a tweet, he said: "Kashmir's mainstream political leaders have been jailed at secret locations. This is unconstitutional & undemocratic. It's also short-sighted and foolish because it will allow terrorists to fill the leadership vacuum created by GOI. The imprisoned leaders must be released."