Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday revoked the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA) against former IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal and two PDP members, including the maternal uncle of former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, officials said.
According to separate orders issued by the Home Department of the Union Territory, the PSA against Faesal, who was a 2010-batch IAS officer, Sartaj Madani, uncle of Mufti, and Peer Mansoor, her political advisor during her tenure as chief minister, was revoked “with immediate effect”.
While the PSA against Faesal was extended on May 14, it was also extended against Madani, who was lodged in an official bungalow, on May 5 and Mansoor, held up at MLA hostel, on May 15 for a period of three months.
After Wednesday’s order, Mufti, whose official residence was designated into a sub-jail, National Conference (NC) general secretary Ali Mohammed Sagar, son of NC parliamentarian Akbar Lone, Hilal Lone and senior PDP leader Nayeem Akhthar continue to remain in detention.
Faesal, who was under detention after scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, was booked under the PSA in February this year, with his detention being extended barely hours before it was to come to an end.
The three were among a host of political leaders detained initially under preventive custody and later under the PSA in the aftermath of August 5 development when the Centre withdrew the special status of the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
Immediately as the news came out, former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted that he was happy at the release of the three leaders but expressed disappointment that “Mehbooba Mufti, Sagar and Hilal Lone continue to be detained. It’s high time they are set free as well”.
He also sought to draw attention of the authorities at the “informal house arrest” of others and said “…it’s time the rule of law is applied to all equally and these leaders are allowed to leave their homes without their ‘guards’ locking them inside without cause, justification or any detention order”.
He said that senior leaders including Nayeem Akhtar and Sagar too should be released without any further delay. “There is no justification for their continued detention,” he said.
The Twitter handle of Mufti, which is being operated by her daughter Iltija, said she was “relieved that arbitrary and illegal detention of Shah Faesal, Sartaj Madni and Peer Mansoor Hussain under PSA has finally been revoked.”
She said that political detainees including Sajad Lone, Ali Mohd Sagar, Hilal Lone, Nayeem Akhtar and Waheed Para, and civil society members such as Mian Qayoom and others are still imprisoned in and outside Jammu and Kashmir. “They must be released immediately,” she said.
She said that it was pertinent to mention that barring a few, most political leaders cutting across party lines continue being under house arrest. “Their unlawful detention is an aberration of the law.”
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