Extension unfortunate, undemocratic: NC
STATE TIMES NEWS Srinagar: The detention of Farooq Abdullah, a three-term chief minister of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, was extended on Saturday by three months and he would continue to remain at his residence that has been declared a sub-jail, officials said here. The case of Abdullah, also a five-term parliamentarian, was reviewed by the advisory board of the Home Department of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which recommended extension of his detention under the PSA, they said. His house, located at Gupkar Road, has been declared a sub-jail by the union territory’s Home Department. Under the PSA, a person can be detained initially for 12 days. Any detention beyond three months is ratified by the PSA Advisory Board. The current board that upheld Dr Abdullah’s detention for a period of three months is chaired by former Jammu and Kashmir High Court judge Janak Raj Kotwal. The maximum detention period under the PSA, enacted in 1978, is two years. Reacting to the move, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “Farooq Abdullah detention extended by three months under Public Safety Act. This is a very sad state of affairs. In our democratic country this is happening. These are unconstitutional steps.” Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 11 said that the Centre had no desire to keep politicians from Kashmir behind bars unless there was a requirement. He said the decision on their release would be taken by the local administration as his government does not interfere in the affairs of states and Union Territories. Abdullah was among the leaders and activists who were detained on August 5 when the centre abrogated Article 370 and divided the state into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir. Besides Abdullah, his son and former chief minister Omar and ex-CM Mehbooba Mufti, several other leaders have also been under detention since August 5. While Mehbooba Mufti was moved from a government house in Chashme Shahi to a new location at the MA Road in Srinagar, Omar Abdullah is in detention at Hari Niwas. Besides, thirty five mainstream politicians who were earlier detained in the Centaur hotel on the banks of the Dal lake, were recently moved to the MLAs hostel. An emotional Abdullah had told the media on August 6 that he was pained at the Centre’s decision on Article 370. The National Conference has termed “most unfortunate” and “undemocratic” the extension of party president Farooq Abdullah’s detention by three months under the stringent law. “It is the most unfortunate thing to happen,” NC provincial president Devender Singh Rana said. “The imposition of PSA on Abdullah is itself a major setback to the mainstream politics of Jammu and Kashmir because he has always stood by the nation and its values,” Rana said. He said that the action is “undemocratic”. The National Conference has been demanding the release of detained leaders and creation of a conducive political atmosphere on the plea that the democracy being in peril in this part of the country is in nobody’s interest.
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