Hours after the Jammu and Kashmir administration revoked the detention order against him under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), former chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Friday said he was free and that he would now be able to “speak for you all” in Parliament.
“Today I don’t have words. I am free today. Now, I will be able to go to Delhi and attend Parliament and speak for you all,” Abdullah said while addressing reporters from his house.
The Srinagar MP further said he was grateful to the people of J&K and all leaders across the country “who spoke for our freedom”. “This freedom will be complete when all leaders are released. I hope the government of India will take action to release everyone,” he added.
— Naveed Iqbal (@NaveedIqbal) March 13, 2020
The Srinagar MP had been under detention in his home on Gupkar Road, Srinagar — that was declared a subsidiary jail —since the August 5 revocation of Article 370 that accorded special status to J&K. Read in Malayalam
The J&K administration subsequently extended his detention under the PSA on September 15, 2019 before it was extended by three months on December 13, 2019.
The PSA order, which was imposed by the Srinagar District Magistrate, now stands withdrawn with immediate effect.
Abdullah was held under the Public Safety Act, 1978, “with a view to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”, the order extending his detention had stated. The 21-page dossier prepared by the state ahead of his detention noted that “the subject has tremendous potential for creating an environment of public disorder within the district and other parts of Kashmir Valley. The conduct of the subject is seen as fanning the emotions of general masses against the Union of India, instigating public with statements against the unity and integrity of India”.
Safia Abdullah Khan was the first member of the Abdullah family to react to the development. “My father is a free man again,” she tweeted, which was retweeted by her brother and former chief minister Omar Abdullah.
My father is a free man again.
— Safia Abdullah Khan (@safiakhan71) March 13, 2020
Former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, however, continue to remain in detention.
The Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 is a preventive detention law, under which a person is taken into custody to prevent him or her from acting in any manner that is prejudicial to “the security of the state or the maintenance of the public order”. It is very similar to the National Security Act that is used by other state governments for preventive detention.
The PSA allows for detention of a person without a formal charge and without trial. It can be slapped on a person already in police custody; on someone immediately after being granted bail by a court; or even on a person acquitted by the court. Detention can be up to two years.
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