Kashmiri bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal was on Wednesday detained at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and sent back to Kashmir, where he was detained again, PTI reported, quoting officials. Faesal was placed under house arrest in Srinagar under the Public Safety Act.
Reports said Faesal was boarding a flight to travel abroad when he was stopped and taken into custody. “He was on way to Harvard,” one of Faesal’s friends told The Hindu. But NDTV reported that he was going to Istanbul.
However, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Delhi airport) Sanjay Bhatia said they do not have any information on his detention. No official from the immigration department could confirm the detention of the J&K People’s Movement president.
Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal said any detention or arrest was based on local assessment. He, however, refused to comment on individuals, reported ANI.
Faesal’s detention came a week after the Centre withdrew Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and, fearing backlash, arrested former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
Faesal has been vocal against the Centre’s move to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and has been expressing his dissent on social media. On Tuesday, Faesal had warned on Twitter that Kashmir “needed a non-violent political mass movement for restoration of political rights”. “Abolition of Article 370 has finished the mainstream. Constitutionalists are gone. So you can either be a stooge or a separatist now. No shades of grey,” he added.
The same day, in an interview to BBC, Faesal alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution has been “murdered” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
The former Indian Administrative Service officer had earlier said history had taken a catastrophic turn for all of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. He had said the situation in the Valley was one of “unprecedented horror”.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that people protesting against the Centre’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status belonged to the “usual vested interest groups [and] political dynasties” and that they sympathised with terrorists.
Shah Faesal had quit the civil services to join politics in January. He was the first Kashmiri to top the IAS exam in 2009. His switch to politics and floating his own party came as he protested against what he called “unabated killings” in Kashmir and the “marginalisation of Indian Muslims”.