SRINAGAR / NEW DELHI: Hours before the Supreme Court was to hear a petition against the detention of Farooq Abdullah, the Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir declared that the former CM was booked under the state’s stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows detention of any individual for up to two years without trial.
Official sources said Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Choudhary signed Abdullah’s detention under PSA on Sunday evening. Abdullah is the first CM of the State to be booked under the stringent law, which was introduced by Abdullah’s father, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, on April 8, 1978 to curb timber smuggling.
Under PSA, a person can be jailed without trial for at least three months but the detainee can challenge it. Sources said Abdullah’s detention could be extended in the interest of “public order” if the situation so warrants. Clearly indicating the crackdown on mainstream camp may be intensified, Abdullah’s house at Gupkar Srinagar was turned into Subsidiary jail through a government order.
A three-time CM, sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar and National Conference president, Farooq Abdullah has been under house arrest since August 5, the day the special status of J&K was scrapped. But the Centre never admitted this. In fact, while speaking in Parliament on August 7, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said Abdullah was neither under detention nor under house arrest. P
“If he does not want to come out of his house, he cannot be brought out at gunpoint,” the minister had quipped. Soon after the controversial order became public, the top court directed the Centre and the J&K administration to respond to the habeas corpus plea by MDMK leader Vaiko.
Immediately after the slapping of PSA against Farooq Abdullah, the security personnel laid concertina wires on the main Gupkar road leading to his residence. Security personnel did not allow the people to move on Gupkar road and asked commuters and vehicle owners to take diversion.
Abdullah’s elder daughter Safia Khan hoisted black flag atop her residence at Gupkar to protest against invoking of PSA against her father.