After six months of “preventive detention”, former bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal was on Friday booked under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA). The J&K Police dossier indicting Faesal accuses him of advocating “soft separatism” through his articles, tweets and social media posts which, on several occasions, it says, have attracted response amounting to “a potential threat to public order”.
This makes Faesal the eighth mainstream political leader to be booked under the stringent law that allows for detention without a formal charge and without trial for up to two years. Besides three former chief ministers, Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, National Conference leaders Ali Mohd Sagar and Hilal Lone, and PDP leaders Sartaj Madni and Naeem Akhtar have also been booked under the Act.
The 90-page dossier on Faesal includes annexures with his statements and records of his activities, an FIR, his television interviews, Facebook posts and the credentials of people who had joined the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM), the political outfit Faesal launched in March 2019.
The dossier states that after resigning from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) early last year, Faesal “accused the sate of ‘unabated killings’, among other things”. The document also notes that he floated his JKPM with like-minded people but “subsequently got in tandem with elements like Awami Itihaad Party chief Sheikh Abdul Rashid @ Er Rashid who stands arrested by NIA in a terror funding case”. Frowning at the association, the dossier goes on to state that expressing discontent over a perceived issue “could find place within the legal framework”, however, “a formal pact with a terror funding accused to organise such meetings in attempts to destabilise public order have been observed with concern”.
The dossier records that the political outfit launched by “the subject” with an elaborate agenda was seen as a positive development for youth engagement. However, “reports submitted in the instance case reveal that a number of persons known for their action in disturbing public order joined the league”.
Quoting from the Budgam Executive Magistrate’s report recommending Faesal’s continued detention, the dossier reads, “this office is of the view that continuation of detention is required in view of reports vis-a-vis sensitive security situation wherein the public order could be disturbed by any provocative statement/speech, action or otherwise.”
The police dossier adds that with the current security situation in Kashmir having “improved”, there is “every apprehension that any public statements made by Dr Shah Faesal could led to unrest or disturbance in public order which the law enforcement agencies fear as a cause of concern for maintenance pf public order”.
On August 14, a little over a week after the Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370, Faesal was prevented from boarding a flight from New Delhi to Istanbul and held at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. He was then flown back to Srinagar and placed under detention at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre along with other political leaders of the erstwhile state and subsequently at the MLA hostel, where he continues to be held.
The police dossier lists Faesal’s interview to a media channel and quotes him as saying, “the illegal act on part of the government of India will never go unprocessed and people will come out to protest when restrictions will be lifted”.
The document also records a Facebook post from Faesal and states that he “clearly advanced the separatist ideology and challenged the ruling dispensation at the Centre to scrap special status of J&K by saying, the day it happens, we in J&K will move our watches 15 mins away from the Indian Standard Time”.
It also makes note of his alleged attempts to “instigate and instill rebellion” among the government employees of J&K, when he asked in a post, “suppose if Article 35A is abrogated, what will be response of police, civil servants and secretariat employees?”
It also notes that Faesal “criticed and demonised” security forces through his social media outreach by terming government policies in Kashmir “as being imported from Israel”.
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