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IndiaAdm frees Farooq Abdullah, revokes PSA

Adm frees Farooq Abdullah, revokes PSA


NL Correspondent

Srinagar, Mar 13: After being in home detention for over seven months as preventive measures and Public Safety Act(PSA), Farooq Abdullah, the former chief minister was freed from restrictions after the J&K Administration revoked the PSA slapped against him on September 15 after a spell of preventive house detention since August 05.
The 82-year-old Conference(NC) leader was initially taken into preventive detention on August 5 last, the day the Centre abrogated Article 370 ending special status to and , and later slapped with the PSA.
Walking out of his Gupkar road residence in Srinagar where he was kept under detention, Abdullah demanded that his son and former chief minister Omar and PDP's Mehbooba Mufti, also a former CM, and other politicians lodged in various places in the union territory and outside should be released at the earliest to allow political activities. “Today, I am free but this freedom is not complete. It will be complete when other leaders like Omar, Mehbooba Mufti and others in outside jails are released,” a fresh looking Abdullah said, appearing before reporters at the terrace-lawns of his home after spending 220 days in detention.
According to an order issued by the Union Territory's home secretary Shaleen Kabra, the PSA ordered by the district magistrate of Srinagar on September 15 and subsequently extended for three months each on December 13 and March 11 this year, stands revoked. Abdullah was booked under ‘public order' of the PSA, a provision that allows authorities to detain a person for three months without trial. This can be extended up to two years. Officials said District Magistrate Shahid Iqbal Choudhary visited the residence of Abdullah and handed over the release order to him.
Abdullah, a Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar, was the first chief minister to have been booked under the PSA. “I would also like to express gratitude to every individual who prayed for us … I will not speak on any political matter till others are released,” Abdullah said. The NC leader, who was flanked by his family members including his wife Molie Abdullah, daughter Safia and grandson Adeem, did not take any questions from the media. Abdullah, who underwent an eye surgery earlier this week, expressed the hope that he would be able to attend Parliament so that he can raise the voice of the people there. Immediately after his release, the NC issued a statement welcoming the decision and also urged the Union Territory administration to release other political leaders including Omar Abdullah, who is party vice president. The NC said the release of its patron from detention was the right step towards restoration of a genuine political process in Jammu and Kashmir. It said the process would receive further fillip when Omar Abdullah and other political detainees are set free. “We urge the government to do so at the earliest,” it said. “As the pre-eminent political party of Jammu and Kashmir, the National Conference has played a key role in strengthening the voice of the people through democracy and will continue to do so,” the statement added. Omar as well as Mehbooba Mufti were slapped with the PSA on February 6, the day when their six-month term of preventive detention was to end. Abdullah's release was hailed by political leaders who also hoped other politicians under detention would be released. Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said Abdullah's release was “belated.” Tharoor hoped the NC stalwart will soon resume his “rightful place” on the front benches of the Lok Sabha, where he can address with his usual compelling vigour the issues facing his state and the state of the nation. “His detention was a disgrace.” Iltija Mufti, daughter of Mehbooba Mufti, demanded the release of all those detained following revocation of the special status of the erstwhile state.”Time to release all detainees including thousands of young men languishing in jails outside J&K. This has gone on for far too long & must end now,” Iltija tweeted. Senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said Abdullah's release was long overdue.”The imposition of PSA on and detention of Dr Farooq Abdullah was illegal, undemocratic and unconstitutional. We have all been concerned about his and well being. His release was long overdue”. The CPI(M) unit in Jammu and Kashmir described Abdullah's release as a “step to correct one wrong among many wrongs”. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee said she prayed for the long life of Abdullah and hoped that the other two former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — will soon be released and “allowed to join the democratic process immediately.” Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram hit out at the Modi government for keeping Abdullah under detention for seven months, alleging that “despotism and arbitrariness” constitute the rule of law in the Union Territory.”Dr Farooq Abdullah, welcome to freedom. What was the justification to keep him in detention without charges for 7 months? If there was justification (there was none), what is the reason for releasing him today?” Chidambaram said. “Despotism and arbitrariness constitute the Rule of Law in J&K. And this virus is spreading to many states in India,” the former home minister said. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and NC patron Farooq Abdullah on Friday thanked parliamentarians who “fought for my freedom” from detention and said he will be able to take a decision on future only after other leaders are released. Abdullah also expressed hope that he would be able to attend Parliament.”I am free… Hope others political leaders would be released soon. Thank all parliamentarians who fought for my freedom. Will be able to take decision on future only after other leaders are released,” Abdullah, the Lok Sabha member from Srinagar, told reporters from the terrace of his residence here. He was flanked by his family members, including his wife Molie Abdullah.Abdullah was under detention since August 5 last year when the Centre abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two union territories.”I would also like to express gratitude to every individual who prayed for us… I will not speak on any political matter till others are released,” he said. He was the first chief minister against whom the Public Safety Act was invoked. The stringent Act was slapped against him on September 15, hours before the Supreme Court was to hear a petition by MDMK leader Vaiko who claimed that Abdullah was illegally detained.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.


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