Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal has been charged under the Public Safety Act for advocating “soft separatism” through his social media posts and articles, the government dossier used to charge him under the stringent law said, The Indian Express reported on Sunday. Faesal, who has been in detention since August last year after the Centre scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, was charged under the Act on Friday.
Faesal joined a set of Kashmiri politicians, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, detained under the law in recent weeks. The Act allows the accused to be detained without a trial for three months, a period which can be extended.
The 90-page dossier used to charge Faesal contains a first information report, his interviews, statements and other records of his activities, including his social media posts. It also includes details on people who joined Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, Faesal’s political outfit. The party was launched by Faesal with like-minded people, but he soon made contact with “elements like Awami Itihaad Party chief Sheikh Abdul Rashid @ Er Rashid who stands arrested by NIA in a terror funding case”, it added.
After quitting from the Indian Administrative Services, Faesal had made allegations of “‘unabated killings’, among other things”, the government document said. The dossier noted that voicing discontent about a matter maybe within the legal framework but a “formal pact with a terror funding accused” to set up meetings that could disrupt peace were concerning.
The dossier claimed that while Faesal’s political group encouraged youth engagement, there were reports of people with a record of “disturbing public order” joining the organisation. “...this office is of the view that continuation of detention is required in view of reports vis-a-vis sensitive security situation wherein the public order could be disturbed by any provocative statement/speech, action or otherwise,” the document read.
It further noted one of Faesal’s interviews in which he had described the Centre’s decisions related to Jammu and Kashmir as an “illegal act”, and said that people will protest when restrictions are lifted. A Facebook post by the politician has been cited saying that he “clearly advanced the separatist ideology”, and allegedly said that people of the region “will move our watches 15 mins away from the Indian Standard Time” if the special status was scrapped.
He also allegedly tried to instigate government employees of the erstwhile state to rebel by posting: “suppose if Article 35A is abrogated, what will be response of police, civil servants and secretariat employees?”. The dossier highlighted his remark that the Centre policies in Kashmir was “imported from Israel”.
In August last year, Faesal was detained at the Delhi airport before he was scheduled to fly abroad. He was then brought to Srinagar, and has been in detention since. His detention then was under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In September, 2019, Faesal withdrew a plea he had filed in the Delhi High Court against his detention. He said that several residents of Jammu and Kashmir have been unlawfully detained and have no legal recourse.