‘On what basis’: Oppn hits out against detention of Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah
Opposition leaders on Friday questioned the government’s move to invoke the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) against former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah.
The Public Safety Act is a 1978 Jammu and Kashmir law, often described as a draconian measure, allowing authorities to detain a person for up to two years without a trial.
The two leaders have been held under section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) ever since the government diluted the provisions under Article 370 to revoke the special status of J&K to bifurcate the state into two Union territories.
The detention period was scheduled to end on Thursday night. However, the government invoked PSA to continue to detain the two leaders.
“On what basis has PSA been slapped on @omarabdullah and @mehboobamufti?” Congress party general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted.
“They upheld the Constitution of India, abided by the democratic process, stood up to separatists, and never ascribed to violence and divisiveness,” Priyanka Gandhi Vadra added.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram termed their detention without charges as the “worst abomination in a democracy.”
“Shocked and devastated by the cruel invocation of the Public Safety Act against Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and others,” Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.
“Detention without charges is the worst abomination in a democracy. When unjust laws are passed or unjust laws are invoked, what option do the people have than to protest peacefully?” the former home minister asked.
Chidambaram even took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remarks that protests will lead to anarchy and laws passed by Parliament and legislatures must be followed.
“He has forgotten history and the inspiring examples of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela”.
Chidambaram stressed the need to have peaceful civil obedience to oppose “unjust laws.” “That is satyagraha,” he said.
Nazir Ahmed Laway, a lawmaker from Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), called the development unfortunate.
“Former chief ministers continue to remain in detention and these are people who held Indian flag high in Kashmir. On January 26 this year, for the first time we saw no Kashmiri leadership unfurl the flag,” Laway said.
“If the idea of abrogating Article 370 was integration, then why are former CMs being slapped with PSA?” he asked.
Congress’ Lok Sabha member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told ANI in an interview that Kashmir cannot be governed the way it is by the present government at the Centre.
“Physically Kashmir is with us but not emotionally,” said the leader.
“The Prime Minister spoke against Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti in Parliament yesterday and they were charged with PSA at night. You cannot govern Kashmir like this,” he said.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien tweeted against the Prime Minister for quoting “fake news” to attack Omar Abdullah in Parliament on Thursday, hours before PSA was invoked.
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionary, who did not want to be named, said the law was equal for all.
“Everyone has to follow the rule of law. This is a law-abiding government (at the Centre) and it will follow the due course of law,” he said.