‘Cruel and retrograde,’ says Omar Abdullah after J&K administration extends detention of Mehbooba Mufti, two others under PSA by three months

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah slammed the Central government on Tuesday after the Jammu and Kashmir administration extended the detention of former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti by another three months under the stringent Public Safety Act.

Mufti’s detention was set to expire today.

In a series of tweets, Abdullah termed the decision “cruel and retrograde”, saying, “Nothing she has done or said in any way justifies the way the Indian state has treated her and the others detained”.

He also said that despite the government’s claims of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, “the last few days coupled with the extension of Mufti’s detention is proof enough that (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji has single handedly pushed Jammu and Kashmir back decades”.

In a similar move, the detention of former minister and senior National Conference leader Ali Mohammed Sagar, and senior PDP leader and uncle of Mufti, Sartaj Madani, was also extended by another three months, officials said.

In a brief order by the Home Department of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, the extension of PSA was made under the public order provisions of the act.

While Mufti is at present lodged at her official residence ‘Fair View’, which has been converted into a subsidiary jail, Sagar and Madani are in a government accommodation at Gupkar Road.

Mufti was initially detained on 5 August last year when the Centre abrogated the special status of the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Later, her six-month preventive custody was extended by invoking PSA on 5 February this year along with Omar. However, Omar was released in March.

Having spent over eight months in detention at two government facilities that were designated as sub-jails, Mufti was shifted to her home on 7 April, a move seen as a partial relief to her.

Earlier, Mufti was lodged a government guesthouse in Chashma Shahi and a bunglow on Maulana Azad Road near Lal Chowk. Mufti heads the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which was in power in Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with the BJP till June 2018.

Several political leaders inlcuding Omar, Mufti and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah were detained by the authorities on 5 August. The PSA of senior Abdullah and his son was revoked earlier in March this year.

Mufti’s daughter, Iltija, has moved a habeas corpus petition before the Supreme Court in February challenging her mother’s detention.

A three-judge bench had issued a notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration seeking its response on the plea and posted the matter for 18 March. However, the petition was not taken up for hearing due to coronavirus outbreak.

Habeas corpus is a writ seeking production of a person supposed to be in illegal detention before a court.

With inputs from PTI

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