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Thursday 4 June 2020

Farooq Abdullah meets party colleagues, supporters

Sheikh Abdullah-made PSA, under which his son Farooq Abdullah has been detained, allows the state to arrest or detain anyone for up to two years without trial

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After the scrapping of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference patriarch Farooq Abdullah was caught on camera for the first time. After getting permission from the administration to meet with people, the politician met with 15 colleagues from the National Conference (NC) who had called on Farooq Abdullah at his residence where he has been under house arrest for more than a month.

Farooq was placed under house arrest on 5 August. The delegation of 15 leaders met Farooq Abdullah’s son and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, too.

NC leaders had sought permission for this meeting from Governor Satya Pal Malik, which he approved of.

Omar Abdullah has been kept in the government guest house. Along with these two leaders, other mainstream politicians of the state have been kept under house arrest.

The Narendra Modi government’s decision to remove Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir completed two months on Saturday. Efforts are on to normalise the situation in the state. On 5 August this year, the Union government had, in effect, scrapped Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and divided the state into two parts (Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh) and declared them both as Union Territories.

The Public Safety Act (PSA), under which Farooq Abdullah has been placed under house arrest, allows the state to arrest or detain anyone for up to two years without trial. Ironically, this law was made by the then Jammu and Kashmir Assembly by a government of Farooq’s father Sheikh Abdullah.

Farooq Abdullah, 83, has been charged with “disturbing public order” under the PSA. He may be detained for three months. He is at his home in Srinagar, but for all practical purposes, it is his jail.

Hundreds of politicians including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah (Mr Abdullah’s son) and Mehbooba Mufti were detained or arrested in August after the Narendra Modi government’s clampdown following the cessation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. The state was split into two union territories. Farooq Abdullah was actually detained last month; the news of the development has arrived now.

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