SRINAGAR – National Conference patron and three time Chief MinisterDr Farooq Abdullah, under detention since August 5, has now been booked under a provision of the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) which allows authorities to detain an individual for six months without trial, official sources said on Monday.
The tough law against the 81-year-old NC parliament member and best known face of the mainstream politics in Kashmir, confined to his home since the government revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, was imposed on Sunday, the sources said.
Abdullah’s Gupkar Road residence has been declared a jail through a government order, they said.
He has been arrested under the ‘public order’ of the PSA, which empowers authorities to detain him for six months without trial. The PSA has two sections — ‘public order’ and ‘threat to security of the state’, the former allowing for detention without trial for six months and the latter for two years.
Abdullah, the Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar, is the first Jammu and Kashmir chief minister to be booked under the PSA.
His detention under the PSA came a day before the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to respond to a plea that the former chief minister be produced before a court.
The petition was filed by MDMK leader Vaiko, who sought Abdullah’s release so he could attend an event in Chennai. Vaiko and Abdullah are said to be close friends for four decades.
The PSA is applicable only in Jammu and Kashmir. Elsewhere in the country, it is the National Security Act (NSA).
Abdullah’s son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah and another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, as well as several other leaders have also been under detention since August 5, when the government announced the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
We’ve Only Legal Option: NC
The National Conference (NC) on Monday said the party would take legal course to challenge the detention of its president Farooq Abdullah under the Public Safety Act (PSA) in Jammu and Kashmir.
“They have no justification to do that, but if they have booked him (Abdullah) under the PSA, then what can we do. We can only approach the courts. We will take constitutional and legal recourse,” senior NC leader Mohammad Akbar Lone told reporters here.
Lone, the MP from north Kashmir, said the government’s move is unfortunate and it is a matter of shame that Abdullah has been booked under this act.
“If there was anyone who would talk of India here, it was Abdullah. If anyone has been abused, it is Abdullah and today, this is how India pays him. This is very unfortunate,” he said.
Azad Flays PSA on Farooq
The Congress on Monday strongly condemned former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah’s detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA), saying it is the country’s “misfortune” that the leaders who fought for its unity and integrity have been put behind bars.
Congress’ reaction came as sources said on Monday that Abdullah has now been detained under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), which enables authorities to detain any individual for two years without trial.
The 81-year-old patron of the National Conference has been under house arrest since August 5 when the Centre announced abrogation of the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into Union territories. The stringent law was slapped on Abdullah on Sunday.
Reacting to the development, Congress Rajya Sabha MP and Leader of Opposition in the House Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “I strongly condemn it. It is most unfortunate that a (former) chief minister of one of the oldest political parties in Kashmir (has been detained).
“Each chief minister, and each political party be it Congress, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir have tried their level best to fight militancy. If there is no militancy today, it is because of these political parties and not the BJP,” he told reporters.
If the leaders who fought against militancy and for the unity and integrity of the country are put behind bars under the PSA, it is “misfortune” of the country, he said.
Shah Lied in Parliament: CPI(M)
CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim accused Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday of lying on the floor of Parliament over the issue of NC leader Farooq Abdullah’s detention in Kashmir in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
In a tweet, the Left leader attached a video grab of Shah in Parliament last month, in which the home minister said Abdullah was neither detained nor arrested.
On Sunday night, the Ministry of Home Affairs detained the 81-year-old patron of the National Conference (NC) under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
Abdullah, a former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, was under house arrest since August 5, when the Centre announced abrogation of the special status given to the state under Article 370 and its bifurcation into Union territories.
“Amit Shah lied on the floor of the parliament claiming that Farooq Abdullah didn’t come to Lok Sabha on his own will but today we all know that Mr Abdullah had been under detention since 4 August, under the draconian PSA. Does India’s Home Minister has any credibility today?”, Salim tweeted.
Son Arrested Under Four-decade Old Law Enacted by Father Sumir Kaul
Srinagar- Never would Sheikh Abdullah have imagined that his son Farooq would one day be arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA) which he, as the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir in 1978, enacted to fight timber smugglers in the state.
The stringent PSA was introduced in Jammu and Kashmir to tackle timber smuggling as those involved in the crime at that time would easily get away with minimal detention, officials said on Monday.
Sheikh Abdullah brought the Act as a deterrent against timber smugglers as it provided a jail term, without a trial, for up to two years.
However, this Act came in handy for the police and security forces during the early 1990s when militancy erupted in the state, the officials said.
After the then Union home minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed enforced the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the state in 1990, the PSA was used rampantly for picking up people in the state.
On Monday though, the four-decade old act was used by the police to detain Sheikh Abdullah’s son Farooq, himself a three-term chief minister and five-time parliamentarian.
Detention under the PSA is subject to periodic review by an official screening committee and can be challenged in high court.
The Act was amended in 2012 and some of its stricter provisions were relaxed. After the amendment, period up to which a first-time offender or individual can be put in detention without trial was reduced from two years to six months.
However, a provision has been kept in the Act to extend the detention, if necessary, to up to two years, they said.
Sheikh Abdullah’s grandson, Omar Abdullah, who has also served the state as a chief minister, had promised during the Lok Sabha elections that if his government comes to power in the state, it would press for abolition of the PSA. (PTI)