New Delhi: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who has been under house arrest since the Centre scrapped the special status of the state, has been slapped with charges under Public Safety Act. A top police officer in the state confirmed the move to CNN-News18 and said, “Abdullah has been detained at his residence by Home Department under PSA and his house declared as subsidiary jail."
The Act allows the government to detain a person for up to two years without a trial. It was first promulgated during the tenure of Sheikh Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah’s father.
Abdullah will continue to stay at his house. There is, however, no bar on meeting relatives and friends.
The veteran leader has been under house arrest since August 4, a day before the bill to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was introduced. On Monday, the Supreme Court sought response from the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea seeking to produce Abdullah before court.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer issued notice to the Centre and the state, and fixed Rajya Sabha MP and MDMK leader Vaiko's plea for hearing on September 30.
Vaiko, who said he is a close friend of Abdullah for the past four decades, has contended that constitutional rights conferred on the National Conference leader had been deprived on account of "illegal detention without any authority of law".
Police officials said PSA was invoked as the former chief minister was a threat to public order as per assessment of local police. But opposition questioned the motive.
"Habeas corpus is an instrument in law to protect personal liberty. You are denying that also and then want us to believe that things are normal. Please change the definition of normal. You have the majority," Manoj Jha, RJD's Rajya Sabha MP said.
Jammu and Kashmir high court had earlier allowed NC MPs Hasnain Masoodi and Akbar Lone to meet Farooq and Omar Abdullah. Officials said that after PSA, the state administration is unlikely to allow the meeting.