Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said that National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah was detained under the Public Safety Act a few days ago, which meant that he was not under arrest till now. Abdullah was booked on Sunday night under the “public order” section of the Act, which provides for detention of six months without trial.
Javadekar was answering a question on the detention of political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir at the Cabinet briefing by him and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. “Government affidavit has categorically stated that prohibitory restrictions are still in place in the jurisdictions of only nine to ten police stations, free movement is allowed in the other areas. Work on this is going,” he said.
Following the announcement, Abdullah’s home was declared a temporary jail for the purpose of detention. 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.
Several leaders have condemned the former chief minister’s detention. Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami on Tuesday criticised the central government for detaining Abdullah. “We, Abdullah and others are not terrorists,” Tarigami had said.
Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Monday called Abdullah’s arrest unjust and claimed that the arrest threatened the identity of the country. National Conference Lok Sabha members Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi also lashed out at the government’s move and said Jammu and Kashmir was under “martial law”.
Following the Centre’s August 5 order, prohibitory restrictions were imposed in the state and communication networks were snapped. Several leaders, including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were put under detention. Authorities have claimed that phone services were being restored gradually and in phases across the region.
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