Former IAS officer Shah Faesal. ( File Image: PTI)
SRINAGAR – The Governor administration has booked former IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA), official sources said on Saturday.
IAS topper and J&K People’s Movement chief was booked under the Public Safety Act on February 15, the seventh prominent mainstream politician to face the stringent law.
Faesal, who quit IAS and joined politics last year, has been under detention after scrapping of Kashmir’s special status, was booked under the PSA on Friday night, according to the sources.
Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were also booked under the PSA on the night of February 6, barely a few hours before their preventive detention was to end. Member Parliament and three time chief minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah was also booked under PSA last year.
Besides two leaders from each NC and PDP have also been booked under the stringent act. PDP ideologue Naeem Akhtar, Sartaj Madni who is Mehbooba’s uncle and NC leader Ali Mohammad Sagar and Hilal Lone, son of NC MP Akbar Lone were recently booked under PSA.
The PSA has two sections — ‘public order’ and ‘threat to the security of the state’ — the former allows detention without trial for six months and the latter for two years.
Faesal was stopped from taking a flight to Istanbul at the Delhi airport during the intervening night of August 13 and 14 last year and flown back to Srinagar, where he was detained. He had earlier appeared in the BBC’s Hard Talk programme and questioned BJP governments decision to downgrade Kashmir’s status.
Shah Faesal, a professional physician and the 2009 UPSC Civil Services topper from Kashmir had resigned from the government services in 2018 over “unabated killings in Kashmir and absence of credible political initiative” from New Delhi. The 37-year-old had likened his tenure in the bureaucracy to a jail term.
He had launched his political party, the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement, in March last year. However, he didn’t contest the parliamentary elections held that year but his party was preparing for the assembly polls before the state was downgraded to a Union territory in August.
BJP’S Pressure Tactics Against Its Opponents: Cong
The Jammu and Kashmir Congress on Saturday criticised the administration for slapping the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) on mainstream politicians in the Valley, accusing the BJP of using “pressure tactics” against its opponents.
“It is not only about valley, the BJP government is implicating anyone who is opposing its policies throughout the country and are misusing the law like PSA which is most abused over the past four decades,” Congress state president G A Mir told reporters during a protest demonstration here.
Mir, who led the demonstration in support of continuation of the reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) outside the party headquarters, said those who were slapped with the PSA have worked with the BJP in the past at the Centre and in the erstwhile state.
“(National Conference vice president) Omar Abdullah was a Union minister in the A B Vajpayee-led BJP government at the Centre, while (PDP president) Mehbooba Mufti shared a plate with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the PDP-BJP government in the erstwhile state,” he said.
Mir was responding to a question about the slapping of the PSA on former IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal.
He said the BJP was using “pressure tactics” against its opponents throughout the country and slapping of the PSA against mainstream leaders in J and K tantamounts to trampling of democracy.
“It (BJP) will not get any benefit from this formula and when the time will come, the people of Jammu and Kashmir will make the right decision.”
On the eight-phase by-election to over 12,500 vacant panchayat seats in Jammu and Kashmir from March 5, Mir questioned the timing of the polls and the decision to conduct the elections on party-basis.
“About 70 to 75 percent (panchayat) vacancies have been filled in 2018 elections on non-party basis and now they want to conduct the elections of the vacant seats on party basis….the government should correct the current notification to hold elections on party basis or declare the earlier polls conducted at the end of 2018 as invalid,” he said.
The Congress leader said he is representing the rank and file of the party in the UT and when his representatives are barred from doing any political activity in Kashmir, where most of the seats are lying vacant, what type of elections they are going to conduct.
“It is merely an eyewash,” he said, adding “in such a scenario, what is the option available with us other than boycotting the polls? Then they criticise us for boycotting the democratic exercise”.
He alleged that the BJP government and its parent organisation RSS is adamant in ending reservations for the economically and socially poor citizens of the country.
“The Congress has taken to the roads to give an assurance to the reserved categories that it will not allow the ruling party to snatch the constitutional rights from the poor whatever the consequences,” Mir said.
He alleged that the BJP “marketed hollow promises” to remain in power but is “getting exposed with each passing day”.