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Omar’s ‘Considerable Influence’ Over People Behind PSA Charges

The PSA dossier against Omar states his ability to convince people to vote during poll boycott calls by separatists.

Updated
India
3 min read
Omar’s ‘Considerable Influence’ Over People Behind  PSA Charges
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Former chief minister Omar Abdullah's "considerable influence" over people, including the ability to attract voters to polling booths despite poll boycott calls and the potential for channeling energies of public for any cause, has been cited in support of his detention under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).

The PSA dossier prepared by the police against the Omar Abdullah, who had served as minister of state for external affairs as well as commerce and industries, states his ability to convince electorates to vote in huge numbers even during the peak of militancy and poll boycott calls by separatists and militants.
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The grounds of detention against Omar, who was chief minister of the state from 2009-14, state that on the eve of reorganisation of the state he had made attempts to provoke general masses against the revocation of Articles 370 and 35-A.

‘Omar Used Social Media To Instigate People Against Abrogation of Article 370’: Govt Dossier

The grounds also mention his comments on social networking sites to instigate common people against the decisions on Articles 370 and 35-A which had the potential of disturbing public order.

However, the police have neither mentioned any of Omar’s social media posts in the dossier nor in the order for grounds of his detention.

"To the people of Kashmir, we don't know what is in store for us. Stay safe and above all please stay calm," was the last few tweets of Omar before he was taken to Hari Nivas for preventive detention.

Restrictions have been put on communication links since 5 August 2019. These were subsequently eased. Internet is functional at a few places through leased lines. Mobile internet facility has been made functional but with a speed of 2G with special instructions that it would not be used to access social media sites.

What Do The Rules Say?

Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti had been under preventive detention since 5 August last year, when the Centre announced abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution granting a special status and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two union territories -- Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

They were booked under the PSA on the night of 6 February, barely a few hours before their preventive detention was to end.

According to rules, preventive detention can be extended beyond six months only if an advisory board, constituted two weeks before the completion of the 180-day period, recommends for that.

Omar's father, Farooq Abdullah, who is a five-time chief minister and currently a member of Lok Sabha, was booked in September last year under the PSA, a law which was enacted by his father Sheikh Abdullah in 1978 to fight timber smugglers in the state as they would easily get away with minimal detention those days.

Sheikh Abdullah brought the Act as a deterrent against timber smugglers as it provided a jail term, without a trial, for up to two years.

However, this Act came in handy for the police and security forces during the early 1990s when militancy erupted in the state.

After then Union home minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed enforced the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the state in 1990, authorities used the PSA to detain people.

The Act was amended in 2012 and some of its stricter provisions were relaxed. After the amendment, period up to which a first-time offender or individual can be put in detention without trial was reduced from two years to three months.

(Published in arrangement with PTI)

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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