There is a question mark on the continuing detention of former J&K Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti with Union Home Minister Amit Shah saying they have been detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA), while officials in Srinagar said they are unaware of the PSA being invoked against the two leaders.
Responding to a query on the detention of Omar and Mehbooba, Shah, in an interview to India Today TV channel Monday, said: “Unko Public Safety Act ke tehat abhi detention mei rakha hi hai (they are still in detention under the Public Safety Act).” This remark with a video of the interview was also tweeted by the BJP Live handle.
The PSA was later invoked against Omar’s father Farooq Abdullah, a three-term Chief Minister and the current Srinagar MP, and his house in Srinagar declared a subsidiary jail. The stringent PSA allows the government to detain a person without trial for a period ranging from six months to two years.
Asked about the detention of leaders, Shah said: “When the incident is fresh… immediately after the removal of Article 370, that there will be shock among people is natural… if someone tries to instigate, obviously there will be a problem in controlling the situation.”
He said of the 4,000 people taken into preventive custody, “fewer than 1,000 are still in jail, 800 of whom are stone-pelters”. Article 370, he said, was responsible for the killing of 40,000 people over the years. “What message went out?… I believe they were killed because of Article 370. We have removed Article 370, we need time to send word down the line. If someone keeps scratching the wounds, people may get instigated. As a precaution, we have kept them under detention. It is better to take precaution than allow loss of life,” he said.
Rejecting there was curfew in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said there had been no firing by security forces in the last two months. “Kashmir is moving towards normalcy,” he said.