The Congress on Monday criticised the detention of National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah under the Public Safety Act. The party said it is the country’s misfortune that people who fought for its unity and integrity are behind bars, PTI reported.
“I strongly condemn it,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said. “It is most unfortunate that a [former] chief minister of one of the oldest political parties in Kashmir [has been detained]. Each chief minister, and each political party, be it Congress, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir, has tried their level best to fight militancy. If there is no militancy today, it is because of these political parties and not the Bharatiya Janata Party.”
The Supreme Court earlier in the day allowed Azad to visit parts of Kashmir, but asked him not to indulge in political activities.
Abdullah was booked on Sunday night under the “public order” section of the Public Safety Act, which allows one to be detained for six months without trial, unidentified officials said. Another section, which is invoked in case of threat to security, allows for detention for up to two years.
The home of the National Conference leader has been declared a temporary jail for the purpose of detention. The decision was taken on Sunday, the night before the Supreme Court was to hear a plea seeking Abdullah’s release, filed by Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Vaiko.
Abdullah has reportedly been under house arrest for six weeks, since the Centre revoked special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Hearing Vaiko’s petition on Monday, the top court issued a notice to the Centre and the state administration, and posted the matter for next hearing on September 30.
On August 6, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had claimed in the Parliament that Abdullah was “neither detained nor arrested”, when members questioned his absence from the Lok Sabha debate that day on Article 370 of the Constitution. However, Abdullah refuted the claim in a brief statement to the media outside his home soon after. He said he had been detained in his house and expressed sadness “that Home Minister can lie like this”. Abdullah is the Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar.
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