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J&K Leader Farooq Abdullah Detained Under Tough Public Safety Act
The Supreme Court today sought a response from the centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea seeking to produce before the top court former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who is allegedly under detention following the scrapping of the state's special status.
Top Court Notice To Centre On Plea For Farooq Abdullah's Release
New Delhi: Farooq Abdullah, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir was on Monday charged under the Public Safety Act (PSA) -- a stringent law that enables detention without trial for up to two years -- on a day the Supreme Court took up a petition against his "illegal detention".
The 83 year old politician, been charged with "disturbing public order" under the law, which means shorter detention of three months. He has been under house arrest at his home in Srinagar, which will now be designated his "jail". Many politicians of Jammu and Kashmir including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah (Mr Abdullah's son) and Mehbooba Mufti were detained or arrested last month as part of the centre's massive clampdown after its decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and split it into two union territories Mr Abdullah's detention has been made official over a month later.
On August 6, when NCP leader Supriya Sule had pointed to Mr Abdullah's absence in the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Amit Shah had said, "He has neither been detained nor arrested. He is at home by his own will."
The PSA law has been used on a mainstream politician, especially an MP and a three-time Chief Minister. Usually, it has been used to arrest terrorists, separatists or stone-throwers. It was Mr Abdullah's father Sheikh Abdullah who brought the law in 1978 to prevent timber smuggling.
The sources said that o questions on the timing of the move, sources said there may have been worries about Mr Abdullah going to the media with his criticism, which could be awkward for the govenment ahead of the UN General Assembly meet later this month.
News of the tough charges emerged as the Supreme Court sent notice to the centre and Jammu and Kashmir on a petition seeking Mr Abdullah's release so he could attend an event in Chennai.
The petitioner is Tamil Nadu's MDMK leader Vaiko, a close friend of Mr Abdullah for four decades.
Mr Vaiko said the National Conference leader must be released so he could attend a mega MDMK event to mark the birth anniversary of CN Annadurai, the first chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Mr Abdullah had been kept under "illegal detention without any authority of law in violation of his constitutional rights," said the petition.
"The actions of the respondents (government) are completely illegal and arbitrary and violative of the right to protection of life and personal liberty, right to protection from arrest and detention and also against right to free speech and expression which is the cornerstone of a democratic nation," Mr Vaiko said.
The centre objected to the petition saying Mr Vaiko "is not Farooq Abdullah's relative" and his request for the release of the Jammu and Kashmir leader was "abuse of the process of law".
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer issued notice to the centre and the state and said the case would be taken up next on September 30.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, another former Chief Minister, strongly condemned the PSA law being used against Mr Abdullah, a diabetic and a heart patient who has a pacemaker.
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