The Public Security Act was invoked against former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah due to his “considerable influence” and his ability to draw voters to polling booths, said the government dossier that contained charges against the politician, PTI reported. Abdullah, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and several other Kashmiri political leaders were charged under the Act on Thursday.
Under the PSA, a person may be detained without a trial for three to six months. These leaders have been in detention for six months now since the Centre amended Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 to abrogate the region’s special status, and bifurcated it into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
“The capacity of the subject to influence people for any cause can be gauged from the fact that he was able to convince his electorate to come out and vote in huge numbers even during peak of militancy and poll boycotts,” read the dossier, accessed by NDTV. It also stated that he had allegedly tried to provoke people through Twitter against the revocation of the erstwhile state’s special status on August 4, a day before the Centre formally announced it in Parliament. However, no tweets were cited to support the accusations.
In the last tweets posted by Abdullah on the intervening night of August 4 and 5 last year, he had said that he was being placed under house arrest, and appealed for calm among the masses. “Violence will only play into the hands of those who do not have the best interests of the state in mind,” he had written. “This wasn’t the India Jammu and Kashmir acceded to but I’m not quite ready to give up hope yet. Let calm heads prevail. God be with you all.”
The dossier to charge Abdullah said that he had been “planning activities” against the Centre under the pretence of practising his politics. “After revocation of Article 370 and Article 35A, in order to secure support of common people, the subject removed all covers/curtains and while resorting to his dirty politics has adopted a radical methodology by way of instigating general masses against the policies of central government,” it read.
The dossier for Mufti cited “confidential reports” that suggested she was “collaborating with separatists”. The dossier also included public remarks she allegedly made against the Army, and her alleged pro-militant tweets. The controversial speeches made by Mufti and Abdullah about the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status were also listed in the document that labelled her a “vocal critic” of the Centre’s move in the region.
The Act was reportedly invoked to continue Peoples Democratic Party leader Sartaj Madni’s detention for his role in mobilising protests against the alleged Shopian rape and murder of 2009. Authorities have been preparing dossiers to book more mainstream politicians under the PSA in the coming days.
Several Opposition leaders have questioned the government’s move to charge Mufti and Abdullah under the stringent law.