Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal and two senior members of the People’s Democratic Party, Peer Mansoor Hussain and Sartaj Madani, were released on Wednesday after the Jammu & Kashmir administration revoked their detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
Faesal, who started a political outfit, the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, in March last year, had been in detention since the scrapping of Jammu & Kashmir’s special status in August 2019. On August 14 last year, he was prevented from boarding a flight from New Delhi to Istanbul. He was then flown back to Srinagar and placed under detention at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre along with other political leaders. Subsequently, he was shifted to the MLA Hostel, where he was being held until Wednesday. In February this year, the J&K administration slapped provisions of the PSA against Faesal. His detention was last extended on May 13 for three months.
The police dossier against Faesal had accused him of advocating “soft separatism” through his articles, tweets and social media posts.
Sartaj Madani, uncle of PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, and Peer Mansoor, her political advisor during her tenure as CM, too were among the several political leaders who were initially kept in preventive custody and later under the PSA in the aftermath of the August 5 scrapping of J&K’s special status.
Peer Mansoor’s detention was last extended on May 15 while Madni’s detention was extended for three months on May 5. However, Mufti, also held under provisions of PSA, is serving her detention at her Gupkar Road residence.
Besides Mufti, National Conference leaders Ali Mohammed Sagar and Hilal Lone, and senior PDP leader Naeem Akhthar continue to remain in detention, while People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone remains under house arrest.
Reacting to Wednesday’s order, former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Good to hear @shahfaesal, Peer Mansoor & Sartaj Madani have been released from their unjust PSA detention. Disappointed that @MehboobaMufti, Sagar Sb & Hilal Lone continue to be detained. It’s high time they are set free as well.”
Good to hear @shahfaesal, Peer Mansoor & Sartaj Madani have been released from their unjust PSA detention. Disappointed that @MehboobaMufti, Sagar Sb & Hilal Lone continue to be detained. It’s high time they are set free as well.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) June 3, 2020
Tweeting from Mufti’s handle, her daughter Iltija Javed said, “Relieved that arbitrary & illegal detention of Shah Faesal, Sartaj Madni & Peerzada Manzur under PSA has finally been revoked.”
Calling for the release of other political detainees and civil society members, she said, “They must be released immediately. Pertinent to mention that barring a few, most political leaders cutting across party lines continue being under house arrest. Their unlawful detention is an aberration of the law.”
The J&K administration has over the last few months been revoking detentions under PSA, first for those detained in prisons within J&K and later for those jailed outside the UT. In March, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice-president Omar Abdullah were released from detention after nearly seven months.
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