SRINAGAR – Former chief minister Omar Abdullah’s “considerable influence” over people, including the ability to attract voters to polling booths despite poll boycott calls and the potential for channelling energies of public for any cause, has been cited in support of his detention under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
The PSA dossier prepared by the police against the 49-year-old Omar, who had served as minister of state for external affairs as well as commerce and industries, states his ability to convince electorates to vote in huge numbers even during the peak of militancy and poll boycott calls by separatists and militants.
The grounds of detention against Omar, who was chief minister of the state from 2009-14, state that on the eve of reorganisation of the state he had made attempts to provoke general masses against the revocation of Articles 370 and 35-A.
The grounds also mention his comments on social networking sites to instigate common people against the decisions on Articles 370 and 35-A which had the potential of disturbing public order.
However, the police have neither mentioned any of Omar’s social media posts in the dossier nor in the order for grounds of his detention.
“To the people of Kashmir, we don’t know what is in store for us…….stay safe and above all please stay calm,” was the last few tweets of Omar before he was taken to Hari Nivas for preventive detention.
His political opponent and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti has been accused of making anti-national statements and extending support to organisations such as the Jamaat-e-Islamia of the state, which has been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Restrictions have been put on communication links since August 5 last year. These were subsequently eased. Internet is functional at a few places through leased lines. Mobile internet facility has been made functional but with a speed of 2G with special instructions that it would not be used to access social media sites.
Omar and the 60-year-old Mehbooba Mufti had been under preventive detention since August 5 last year, when the Centre announced abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution granting a special status and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
They were booked under the PSA on the night of February 6, barely a few hours before their preventive detention was to end.