CHENNAI – Describing the Public Safety Act as draconian, the DMK on Saturday slammed the Centre for extending the detention of Kashmiri leaders, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, and demanded their immediate release.
The Centre had booked the two former chief ministers under the stringent Act on February 6, barely hours before their six-month-long “preventive detention” was to end.
Hitting out at the centre, the main opposition in Tamil Nadu alleged the PSA was draconian and condemned their further detention.
Alleging that such draconian laws could be implemented in any State and against any leader, DMK president M K Stalin said such a scenario was not appropriate for both the country and Centre-State relations.
Keeping leaders who have faith in India’s integrity under detention went against human rights and personal liberty and it was tantamount to ridiculing people’s faith in Constitution and democracy, he alleged, adding the abrogation of Article 370 without “respecting the Assembly and people was a burial of democracy.”
“The BJP is making a mockery of federalism by bending laws since it got a majority by winning (Lok Sabha) elections,” he said in a statement here.
Further, Stalin, who has been demanding the release of all Kashmiri leaders ever since they were first detained in August last year, said no one could accept BJP using the government machinery and laws as per its “whims and fancies.”
Continuing to keep leaders like Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah in detention, “is a blatant misuse of power,” impinging on fundamental rights and freedom of expression, he alleged.
Dubbing their detention as something that did not appear to be a “honest act of the Central government,” he alleged it was due to the BJP’s “selfishness,” and it has raised a suspicion among the people whether the saffron party desired to maintain Kashmir as a restless province.
Detaining Kashmiri leaders by coming up with “new, artificial reasons should be given up,” he said and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately release all the leaders and “open up the doors of democracy,” in Kashmir.
Political parties had reacted sharply to the slapping of the PSA on four prominent Kashmiri politicians and said the move belied the Centre’s claim of normalcy in the union territory.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah and two political stalwarts — National Conference leader and former minister Ali Mohammed Sagar and PDP leader Sartaj Madani — were booked under the PSA by the administration on Thursday.
The People’s Democratic Party had said the BJP-led government at the Centre was “testing the patience” of the people by such “undemocratic moves”.
The CPI(M)’s Jammu and Kashmir unit condemned the slapping of the PSA on the prominent Kashmiri leaders, while the Congress termed the decision “unfortunate.”
Omar’s father, Farooq Abdullah was booked under the PSA in September last year which was reviewed again in December for a period of three months.
The PSA was enacted by Omar’s grandfather Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah in 1978 initially to check timber smuggling.
The law, which came handy for police force to book separatists and militant sympathisers, has two sections — ‘public order’ and ‘threat to security of the state’. The former allows detention without trial for six months and the latter for two years.