Srinagar: Criticising Union Home Minister Amit Shah, advising people in Kashmir to read the autobiography of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and condemning the central government’s decision last year to stop a youth from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from visiting his ailing grandmother in Poonch — these are some of the grounds for detention cited in the Public Safety Act (PSA) dossier against senior People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Naeem Akhtar.
Akhtar, who has been in detention since the central government announced scrapping of Article 370 from J&K last year, was slapped with the stringent PSA last week.
“On 09/01/2019, he termed then BJP president Amit Shah’s West Bengal speech, an open call for a Hindu rashtra and said that saffron party chief has challenged the very idea of India. He further said that the BJP is setting up a dangerous game for electoral gains in the country and is playing communal hatred card and last resort to win elections,” the dossier reads.
The dossier further states that Akhtar, a close aide of PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s family, leans towards “radical elements”. It also accuses him of having used his clout in political circles to instigate the public to rise against the Union of India.
The former cabinet minister, considered a number two in the PDP, had served as a spokesperson for the party’s coalition government with the BJP that collapsed in June 2018 after the latter parted ways with the Kashmiri party.
Akhtar’s corruption charges against Omar Abdullah
While the PSA dossier against former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah is a scathing criticism of his past activities, the one prepared against Akhtar states that the National Conference leader has been a victim of corruption allegations.
The PSA dossier against Akhtar talks about his corruption charges against a junior Abdullah 10 years ago, when the latter was a chief minister of the erstwhile state.
“During the unrest of 2010, he (Akhtar) voluntarily retired from government services as commissioner secretary, tourism, and joined political party PDP. During the said period, he…used to critcise and level allegations against the NC…particularly against then CM Omar Abdullah of receiving kickbacks to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore while allocating the rattle hydro electric project…the NC government had filed a defamation case against him,” the dossier reads.
Even though PSA dossiers of several J&K politicians give an insight into the thorough detailing of their profiles by the J&K administration, several instances of their alleged offenses seem unclear. Critics have also termed the content of these dossiers arbitrary.
The PSA dossiers against Abdullah and former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti have especially triggered sharp reactions.
While Abdullah has been accused of having radical thoughts and planning activities against the Union of India, Mehbooba was described as “hot headed”, “scheming”, a “Daddy’s girl” and “insidious”. The administration has compared her to medieval Kashmir queen Kota Rani who, it states, had risen to power by virtue of intrigues, including poisoning her opponents.
Congress leader P. Chidambaram had tweeted saying: “Whoever drafted the grounds of detention of Abdullah and Mufti deserves to be sacked and sent to law school.”
Whoever drafted the grounds of detention of Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti deserves to be sacked — and sent to law school.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) February 10, 2020
Asking people to read Geelani’s book
Among other grounds of the detention for Akhtar include him advising people to read the autobiography of Hurriyat Conference leader Geelani.
“His leaning towards radical elements can be gathered from his statement dated 27/09/2016 in which he has an education minister advise people to read Geelani’s book Wular Kinaray,” reads the dossier.
The dossier also states Akhtar’s condemnation of the central government’s decision to bar a youth from Bandi village in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from visiting his ailing grandmother in Poonch district last year.
Akhtar’s condemnation of the National Investigation Agency’s summons to separatist leader Mirwaiz Omer Farooq has also been stated as yet another ground for his detention.
Some of the other politicians slapped with PSA are NC General Secretary Ali Sagar, PDP leader Sartaj Madni, NC’s Hilal Lone and former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah.