The Opposition on Tuesday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party government for the detention of National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah under the Public Safety Act.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal questioned whether the move was taken because of the petition filed by Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Vaiko last week, which sought that Abdullah be released. “Now PSA [43 days later],” Sibal said in a tweet. “Earlier BJP said 92% of people in J&K welcome dilution of Article 370; that normalcy prevails.”
He pointed out Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in the Parliament on August 6, where Shah had said that Abdullah was “neither detained nor arrested”, when members pointed out his absence during the Lok Sabha debate on Article 370 of the Constitution.
“If no danger to public safety then, why now,” Sibal questioned. “Because Vaiko filed petition?”
Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Monday called Abdullah’s arrest unjust, ANI reported. “The arrest of Farooq Abdullah threatens the identity of the country,” he told the news agency. “He is one of the leaders who upheld the unity and integrity of the country in Jammu and Kashmir. His entire family, including his father and son have served the state and the Union.”
“Injustice has been done not only with him but the entire country,” Khurshid added.
National Conference Lok Sabha members Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi also condemned the government’s move and said Jammu and Kashmir was under “martial law”, The Hindu reported. “The principles of democracy and rule of law have been suspended in J&K,” the MPs said in a joint statement. “The decision to slap PSA on Dr. Abdullah belies the Centre’s claims that people of J&K have accepted the revocation of Article 370 and 35A and situation in the State was normal.”
They said the “height of deceit and lies” could be seen from Shah’s lies in the Parliament about Abdullah’s detention.
“There is a stark misinformation campaign launched by the Centre and the Governor’s administration,” the MPs added. “How can a three-time chief minister and a sitting MP pose any threat?” They alleged that the BJP government was resorting to “undemocratic measures” to prove their case. “Such moves will have dire consequences. This will not cow down the NC, which will continue with its struggle.”
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 Vaiko’s plea seeking Abdullah’s release.
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. While hearing Vaiko’s petition on Monday, the top court issued a notice to the Centre and the state administration, and had posted the matter for next hearing on September 30.
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