Jammu & Kashmir’s home department on Saturday extended the detention of National Conference (NC) president and sitting member of parliament (MP) Farooq Abdullah, 82, by another three months under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
The move “belies and betrays Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s so-called return of normalcy narrative,” the party said.
An official said a review meeting of the advisory board of the J&K’s home department, also attended by UT Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, has decided in favour of the extension of the detention of Dr. Abdullah by 60 days, as the leader has already spent 125 days.
Dr. Abdullah, a five-time Chief Minister and a three-time MP, was arrested on August 5 and slapped with PSA on September 14, which declared his house at Srinagar’s Gupkar Road into a sub-jail. The PSA dossier was based on his numerous public speeches made in the past few years.
The extension of detention comes days after Dr. Abdullah wrote a letter to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor saying, “They (Kashmiri leaders) were not criminals.”
“The move is unwarranted, undemocratic and unjustified. There were no legal grounds earlier to detain him nor are there now to extend the same. It reflected New Delhi’s confidence...An 82-year-old leader, former Union Minister, ex-Chief Minister and sitting MP is detained without a trial or a charge. Is this normalcy?” NC MP Hasnain Masoodi told The Hindu .
Mr. Masoodi, a retired judge of the High Court, said Dr. Abdullah was “denied access to justice as well as law.”
NC may move court against Farooq’s detention
National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi said on Saturday that he has not been allowed to meet party president Farooq Abdullah, whose detention has been extended by three months.
“I have written three times to the authorities to allow me to meet Dr. Abdullah. Besides being an MP, I am also his legal aide. It is now nine weeks that we were denied any meeting,” said Mr. Masoodi.
On whether to challenge the Public Safety Act in court, Mr. Masoodi said, “Earlier, Dr. Abdullah was for release of all political detainees and decided against approaching the court for individual relief. I think the NC will have to look afresh now.”
NC vice-president Omar Abdullah also remained detained since the August 5 decision to revoke J&K’s special status.
Mr. Masoodi said the argument that NC leaders’ release was “threat to public order holds no water.”
“NC leaders detained included Sakin Ittoo, daughter of assassinated Assembly speaker Wali Mohammad Itoo; another assassinated leader’s son Ishfaq Muhammad; Showkat Gani, who lost his father and two brothers to bullets. The detention move is only aimed at disallowing any genuine political process in Kashmir,” said Mr. Masoodi.
He also denied the reports that New Delhi was in touch with his party over Article 371.
“I am not privy to any such development. The NC stand is clear. Not only restore Article 370 but strengthen J&K’s autonomy further,” he said.
He accused the BJP of duplicity over the issue of granting special status.
“Where is Amit Shah’s slogan of one country and one constitution when he reaches out to the States of the north-east with concessions on new citizenship law to safeguard their culture, language and identity. Article 370 precisely safeguarded the same things for J&K,” he added.