The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday charged National Conference leader Hilal Lone under the Public Safety Act, PTI reported, citing officials. Lone was put in preventive detention since August 5 last year when the erstwhile state’s special status was revoked, and it was bifurcated into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Lone is the latest among Kashmiri politicians, including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who have been recently charged under the PSA to continue their detention. The former chief ministers along with several other political leaders were charged under the Act on February 6. Peoples Democratic Party leader Naeem Akhtar was booked two days later.
These politicians had been in detention under Section 107 (security for keeping the peace in other cases) of the Indian Penal Code, which has to be reviewed every six months. The PSA was invoked after a review. The Act allows the detention of a person without trial for three to six months. The Kashmiri politicians have been in some form of detention since the Centre’s August 5 move.
Lone was reportedly served the dossier which was used to charge him under the Act by the Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Commissioner. He was told that the administration believed that the politician’s release could take a toll on the law and order in north Kashmir. Lone’s father Mohammad Akbar Lone represents Baramulla in the Lok Sabha.
“You being a probable MLA candidate of National Conference are a potential threat to public peace and tranquility as you belong to the party whose manifesto is to agitate against abrogation of Article 370, 35A of Constitution of Indian,” the government dossier on Hilal Lone said, according to ThePrint.
The dossier also mentioned Mohammad Akbar Lone’s alleged seditious remarks after the revocation of the erstwhile state’s special status, and claimed that Hilal Lone was involved in propagating the comments. The authorities also alleged that Hilal Lone had made statements to instigate a rebellion against the country, and to fight against the abrogation of the special status “till death”.
Former Chief Minister and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah was charged under the PSA on September 17. It was extended by three months in December. Several Opposition leaders have questioned the government’s move to charge the politicians under the stringent law.