Will Keep No Mark Of PSA If Voted To Power: Omar

PULWAMA — National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah said Thursday the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA), under which a person can be detained without trial for six months, would be revoked if his party was voted to power in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Let me assure the people of Jammu Kashmir that if the National Conference comes to power, we will abolish the Public Safety Act in days,” Omar said while addressing party’s day-long convention in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

“I’m not saying that we will not use PSA, it is easy to say; somebody after us will come and use it. What I’m saying is that we will abrogate the law. Mai Is Qaanoon Ka Naam-o-Nishaan Mitaa Doonga (There will be no mark of law left),” he said.

The former CM said if people vote NC to power, the youth “would no more be detained under PSA, and the parents whose sons are languishing in jails under this law won’t get sleepless nights again”.

The government’s job is to provide relief to people not oppress them, the NC working president said.

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to State on February 3, Omar said the PM is here to inaugurate some projects and that he doesn’t expect any political move from him as it has been too late now.

“We were waiting for the last four and a half years that Modi- government takes bold initiatives vis-a-vis resolution of Kashmir issue, which unfortunately didn’t happen. The dialogue process didn’t take place. The interlocutor was (sent here) just to show off,” he said.

“Now as a few months have remained of the BJP government, we must not expect any good from it. He (Modi) may also be coming here to campaign for BJP. Politically he has nothing to offer,” he said.

Omar Abdullah also criticized the Government of India for objecting to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s phone call to Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, saying “why is New Delhi upset?”

“We have many times in past talked to Mirwaiz sahib. There were times when we would together participate in conferences and seminars and I used to put my political viewpoint and Mirwaiz sahib his own. I feel India was much tolerant those days. All that was acceptable in the recent past has now become a taboo,” he said.

Triggers Twitter Spat With PDP

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah’s call to revoke controversial Public Safety Act (PSA) I voted to power  triggered Twitter spat with the Peoples Democratic Party.

There are as many as 230 people, including 180 from the state, who have been booked under the Public Safety Act. These include some separatist workers as well as Pakistani and other foreign nationals, who have completed their sentence but have not been taken by their respective countries of origin.

The PDP was quick to dismiss Omar Abdullah’s promise. “A party that convinced the idea and acts like PSA, POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act), AFSPA to muzzle the dissent voices, rigged elections in 1987, booked elected people in jails and declared them militants are now asking for majority to revoke PSA. Illogical!” the PDP tweeted.

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Reacting to the criticism, Omar Abdullah said: “I was expecting this panic reaction. Thank you for not disappointing me. You had a chance after 2014 when you people were praising PM (Narendra) Modi to the skies. Why didn’t you revoke PSA or attempt to have AFSPA removed?” 

National Conference leader said now people could choose the PDP and keep the PSA or choose his party to remove it.

“To those of you Kashmiri leaders who are questioning @JKNC_ ‘s PSA related commitment I have simply this to say – you should have used your friendly ties with BJP to do it earlier. Now people have a choice vote for you to keep PSA or vote @JKNC_ to remove it,” he added.

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The 48-year-old said his party was committed to bringing the state out of misery, despondency and darkness. “The masses reflecting the faith that #OnlyHal (plough — election symbol of the party) is the answer to their problems.” 

The law — first enacted by the government led by Omar Abdullah’s grandfather, Sheikh Abdullah, in 1978 to tackle timber-smuggling in forests — came handy for the police and security forces during the early 1990s when militancy broke out in the state.

After the then Union home minister, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, enforced the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the state in 1990, the PSA act was used rampantly for picking up people in the state.

Omar Abdullah said during his tenure as chief minister, he had strongly pitched for revocation of the AFSPA from some of the districts, including Srinagar, Jammu and Udhampur that were militancy-free. However, the then defence minister, A K Antony, opposed the move in cabinet meetings.

The elections in the state have not been announced so far. The state assembly was dissolved on November 21.

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