Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were detained under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) Thursday night.
Two other leaders of the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were also detained under the Act.
The leaders — NC’s general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar and senior PDP leader Sartaj Madni — were under detention for the last six months. Madni is PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s maternal uncle.
“The two were today (Thursday) shifted from the MLA hostel in Srinagar to a government guest house on Gupkar Road where they are detained under the PSA,” said a senior administration official.
Another official in the administration said Mufti and Abdullah were not shifted as of now. Mufti is still at the government guest house in Lal Chowk, while Abdullah is at Hari Niwas on Gupkar Road.
According to the PSA dossier, Madni was detained under the Act for his alleged role in mobilising anti-social elements to protest against the alleged gang-rape of two Kashmiri women in Shopian.
The incident took place back in 2009 when two women, Asiya and Nilofer, were found dead in a river near their village in Shopian.
Madni has also been accused of providing support to separatists in Kashmir and “propagating secession” after the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, the dossier stated.
Sagar, meanwhile, was detained under the PSA for speaking against the “Union of India”, the scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35A and informing party workers about the government’s decision on Article 370, according to the dossier.
The dossier also said that “the power of Ali Mohmmad Sagar can be gauged by his capacity to mobilise the electorate” during the height of militancy in Kashmir and by his call to boycott elections in the Valley.
Veteran NC leader Farooq Abdullah is the only mainstream politician against whom the stringent PSA was slapped on 17 September for a period of three months, which was renewed on 16 December last year.
Discussions being held to decide fate of 11 detained leaders
A third official in the J&K administration said review meetings are being held now to take a decision on the fate of the 11 politicians detained at the MLA hostel in Srinagar.
On Wednesday, the administration released People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone and PDP’s Waheed Para, bringing the number of detainees at MLA hostel to 12 from 14.
On Thursday, NC’s Basheer Ahmed Veeri was also released from the hostel and put under house arrest at his residence.
Lone and Para, too, are currently under house arrest.
The official said leaders are being released on and off now due to the “improving law and order situation in Kashmir” and because the time period of their preventive custody has lapsed.
The politicians were booked under Section 107 of Code of Criminal Procedure, which allows authorities to put any person under preventive custody for a period of six months if they receives information that the person is likely to commit a breach of the peace or disturb public tranquillity.
After completion of six months, it needs to be reviewed if a detainee should be released or kept under detention.
In case of Sagar and Madni, the review was done by the authorities and it was decided that PSA be slapped against them, the official added.