NEW DELHI – Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said that he is praying for the early release of three former chief ministers of Jammu & Kashmir from their detention and hoping that they will contribute to normalizing situation in Kashmir.
In an interview with IANS today, Singh said that after abrogation of special status, Kashmir has been peaceful and the situation was improving rapidly.
“Along with the improvement, these decisions (release of politicians from detention) will also be finalized. The government has not tortured anyone” he said.
Defending the government’s move to revoke special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir, the Defence Minister said that certain steps had been taken in the interests of Kashmir.
“Everybody should welcome it,” he said.
Singh said he will pray for the early release of the Abdullahs and Mufti from their detention. “I also pray that once they are out, they work and contribute towards improvement of the situation in Kashmir,” he said.
National Conference (NC) Patron Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti and hundreds of mainstream and separatist leaders were detained on August 5 last year, hours before the Centre revoked the special status of J&K and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, carving out Ladakh as a separate UT.
The Public Safety Act (PSA) is an administrative detention law that allows detention of any individual for up to two years without a trial or charge. The Act that allows for the arrest and detention of people without a warrant, specific charges, and often for an unspecified period of time has been in vogue in Kashmir since 1978.
Ironically, PSA was introduced by Omar’s grandfather and the then Chief Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1978 to book timber smugglers but later on it was rampantly used against political opponents and activists seeking Kashmir settlement. Amnesty International has termed it a “lawless law”.
On September 17, Farooq Abdullah became the first Chief Minister of the state to be booked under the PSA. Abdullah, 81, was charged with disturbing public order.
Over four months later, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, both former Chief Ministers of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state were booked under the controversial PSA.
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