Sheikh Abdul Rashid, popularly known as Engineer Rashid, became the first jailed leader from the Indian-administered Kashmir to be sworn in as a member of the Indian parliament on Friday.

Rashid, 57, who has been in prison since Aug. 2019, was granted a two-hour custody parole on Tuesday to take the oath.

A day earlier, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) had given its conditional nod for Rashid to attend the swearing-in ceremony for newly elected parliamentarians, barring him from speaking to the media.

Firdous Baba, spokesman for Rashid’s Awami Ittehad Party, told Anadolu that only family members were permitted to attend the ceremony.

A few Indian media outlets reported that Rashid and jailed Sikh separatist leader Amritpal Singh would take an oath in the chambers of Parliament Speaker Om Birla, where they would be taken into police custody.

Rashid won elections to India’s parliament from the northern Kashmir constituency of Baramulla, defeating two political heavyweights — former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Sajad Lone, the son of a former pro-freedom leader with a sizable support base in the constituency.

Campaigning for the election was led by Rashid’s two young sons, Abrar Rashid and Asrar Rashid, which drew a lot of youths, especially first-time voters, with many believing that their vote would result in his release.

Running as an independent, Rashid swept most of the electoral segments in the constituency. He had pleaded for interim bail or custody parole to take his oath as a member of parliament.

He was elected to the legislative assembly of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir as an independent candidate twice, in 2008 and 2014, and unsuccessfully ran in the 2019 Indian parliamentary polls.

Subsequently, he founded his own Awami Ittehad Party.

The abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s limited political autonomy on Aug. 5, 2019, by the Indian government saw the detention and arrest of scores of both pro-freedom leaders and local politicians, including Rashid, who believe in Indian claims over the disputed region.

Rashid, like some other pro-freedom leaders, has been charged by the NIA with funding terrorist activities under the harsh Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Spokesman Baba said the party’s priority now is to seek regular bail and explore options for Rashid to participate in parliamentary proceedings while in jail.

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