Abdullah said he can’t do anything about his detention period being extended and would rather leave the matter to “Allah”.
Srinagar: The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday extended the detention of former chief minister and National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah under the Union Territory’s stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) for three months.
Mr Abdullah, 81, who has been under house arrest since August 5, when the Centre stripped J&K of its special status and split the state into two Union Territories, was formally detained under PSA on September 14 for a period of three months.
When contacted over the phone, Mr Abdullah said he can’t do anything about his detention period being extended and would rather leave the matter to “Allah”. “I don’t want to say anything… they have done it and I leave it to Allah. It is His will which alone will prevail ultimately,” he said.
Mr Abdullah’s residence along Srinagar’s Gupkar Road continues to be under the siege of security forces with a “bunker vehicle” blocking the main entrance. The premises is guarded by the personnel of Special Services Group (SSG) as Mr Abdullah, who has also served as a minister in the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, is provided with Z-Plus security by the government.
After the NC leader and three-time chief minister was formally detained under the PSA in September, his residence was declared a subsidiary jail. Official sources said that there is, however, no bar on his relatives and friends meeting him, but only after seeking prior permission as is required under the provisions of the law.
Lok Sabha had on the opening day of the winter session of Parliament on November 18 witnessed uproarious scenes when a united Opposition attacked the Modi government over the detention of Mr Abdullah who represents the Srinagar constituency in the House. Terming his detention as “illegal”, the Opposition members had demanded his immediate release so that he could attend the new session of Parliament. Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had said that it was Mr Abdullah “right” to attend Parliament and had called his detention an “atrocity”.
The PSA was introduced in the erstwhile state during Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah’s government in 1978, initially to discourage timber smuggling but it has often been used by successive governments, including that of Farooq Abdullah, against their political opponents, drawing severe criticism from human rights groups at home and abroad.
Under the PSA, a person can be detained up to a period of two years without seeking a formal trial. However, such detentions are subject to periodical reviews by an official screening committee and can be challenged in open courts as well.
In 2012, the state legislature amended PSA by relaxing some of its strict provisions. In the case of first-time offenders or individuals who “act against the security of the state”, the detention period was reduced from two years to six months. However, the option of extending the term of detention to two years was kept open, “if there is no improvement in the conduct of the detainee”.
In June this year, Amnesty International (AI) in a report termed the PSA as a “lawless law” and said that it circumvents the criminal justice system in J&K “to undermine accountability, transparency and respect for human rights”.