Farooq Abdullah detained under public safety

Srinagar Lok Sabha MP and three-time former chief minister Farooq Abdullah has been detained under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act. The law empowers the government to detain people for two years if they are, in its opinion, acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State.

Abdullah’s Gupkar residence in Srinagar has been declared as a subsidiary jail, a government official said. Abdullah, 81, is the senior most mainstream politician of the J&K and is president of National Conference.

Farooq Abdullah’s detention order came right ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on a habeas corpus petition filed by Tamil Nadu politician Vaiko that sought Farooq Abdullah’s production in the top court.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, which took up five petitions relating to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, told the Centre to respond to the petition by this month-end when it will again take up the petition.

A habeas corpus petition (literally means, produce the body) is seen as an important instrument against illegal detention. A formal detention order could have the effect of excluding the top court’s jurisdiction under this petition.

Principal Secretary and J&K government spokesman, Rohit Kansal refused to comment. Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary didn’t respond to calls of Hindustan Times.

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Local residents living in the vicinity of Farooq Abdullah’s Gupkar road residence, one of the valley’s most-protected localities, said road leading to the former chief minister’s house had been blocked by the security forces.

Kashmir was put under a lockdown and landline as well as mobile internet services were snapped on August 5 when the Centre revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two union territories.

Although restrictions have been relaxed in large parts of the state, mobiles [with around 60 lakh subscribers] and internet services continue to be blocked. A large number of political leaders and activists were also detained when the restrictions were first introduced.

Three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, son Omar and Mehbooba Mufti – have been under detention on one ground or the other. At one point, the state administration had even suggested that this was for their own security.

The government has also restricted movement of political leaders from Delhi in the Kashmir valley, prompting some of them to file petitions in the Supreme Court to meet their party leaders or family members.

The High Court, which received a petition from two MPs – Akbar Lone and Justice (retired) Hasnain Masoodi – to meet Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, allowed the request on Monday. But the two lawmakers were told by a bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar not to share details of their meeting with the media.

HINDUSTAN TIMES