Ex-J&K CMs Omar, Mehbooba Among 5 Politicians Detained Under PSA
Farooq Abdullah is the only leader whose detention under CrPC 107/151 had been converted into detention under PSA.
All three former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir – National Conference’s Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti – will continue to remain under detention even as almost all others, who had been taken into preventive custody in August 2019, have been or are being released.
Top-ranking sources in the government told The Quint that Srinagar District Magistrate would order detention of Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti under Public Safety Act (PSA) any time after Thursday, 6 February, evening as holding them under sections 107 and 151 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) upon expiry of 6 months of detention would be legally deficient and the magistrates were unlikely to extend any remand.
Among all the political activists who had been detained during the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A in August 2019, Farooq Abdullah was the only leader whose detention under CrPC 107/151 had been converted into detention under PSA, and is extended from time to time.
PSA can remain in force initially for three months but can be extended to a maximum of one year in case of apprehension of a law and order situation.
Sources said, as of now, no decision had been taken with regard to Dr Abdullah’s release.
Sources also said that senior NC leader and former Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar and senior PDP leader and Mehbooba Mufti’s maternal uncle, Sartaj Madni, were released on Thursday from MLAs Hostel Srinagar, shifted to the government bungalow M-5 on Gupkar Road and detained there under PSA. NC’s ex-MLC Dr Bashir Ahmad Veeri was simultaneously released from MLAs Hostel and held under house arrest at Government Quarter No: 48 at Jawahar Nagar.
According to these sources, in addition to Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Ali Mohammad Sagar and Sartaj Madni, PSA detention could be ordered for the former Minister and senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar, IAS officer-turned-politician Dr Shah Faisal and the NC Lok Sabha member Mohammad Akbar Lone’s son, Hilal Lone. All the three are still lodged at MLAs Hostel.
Sources said that the MLAs Hostel would be fully vacated with the release of PDP’s ex-MLC Khursheed Alam and NC’s ex-MLA Irfan Shah on Friday.
Remaining political detainees, namely NC’s Mubarak Gul, Tanvir Sadiq and Ali Mohammad Dar, PDP’s Peerzada Mansoor Hussain and Bilal Sultan of Awami Ittihad Party, could also be released in a couple of days. However, all of them would be placed under “house arrest” for some time.
People’s Conference chairman and former Minister Sajad Lone and PDP’s Youth Wing President Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra, were released from MLAs Hostel and held under house arrest a few days back.
They have been permitted to use telephone but asked to avoid contact with party workers and speaking to media.
Most of the other mainstream political detainees have been already released. Some of them have been held under house arrest while a number of them have been moving freely. Besides, a number of senior NC leaders and former ministers like Abdul Rahim Rather, Mohammad Shafi Uri and Chowdhary Mohammad Ramzan have been under “house arrest” since August.
Some others, who were under house arrest for some time, have been told that they were free to visit any place but asked to adhere to the security protocol of informing the Security Wing control room well in advance of their programme.
NC’s Lok Sabha members, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi and PDP’s Rajya Sabha members, Mir Mohammad Fayaz and Nazir Ahmad Laway, were not held under any sort of detention.
(The writer is a Srinagar-based journalist. He can be reached @ahmedalifayyaz.
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