New Delhi: The Opposition Congress and CPM on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on the Centre over the detention of Farooq Abdullah under the Public Safety Act (PSA), with Rahul Gandhi saying nationalist leaders like the National Conference chief were being removed to create a political vacuum in Jammu and Kashmir and use the Valley to polarise the rest of India.
Gandhi also demanded that the government immediately release all nationalist leaders and "stop creating a space for terrorists" in Jammu and Kashmir.
Criticising the detention of Abdullah and other leaders, CPM leader from Kashmir Mohd Yousuf Tarigami said that "people across the border are clapping" that the government has done what they could not.
"We, Abdullah and others are not terrorists... what is happening in Kashmir is not in the interest of the country," he said while addressing a press conference in New Delhi with CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
Tarigami, who was under house arrest since 5 August when the Centre announced scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into Union territories, was brought to the AIIMS here for treatment on the direction of the Supreme Court after it allowed Yechury to meet him in Srinagar and submit a report on his health condition.
Yechury also hit out at the government over Abdullah's detention and said that the situation is "very serious" in the state.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal questioned whether the step to invoke PSA against Abdullah after 43 days was prompted by MDMK chief Vaiko's plea in the Supreme Court seeking a directive that the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister be produced before it.
Now PSA (43 days later)
Earlier BJP said 92% of people in J&K welcome dilution of Art.370 ; that normalcy prevails
Then Amit Shah in Parliament : Farooq Abdullah neither detained nor arrested
If no danger to public safety then , why now ?
Because Vaiko filed petition?
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) September 17, 2019
Abdullah has now been detained under the stringent Public Safety Act, which enables authorities to detain any individual for two years without trial. The 81-year-old National Conference leader was in preventive detention, which was an unofficial house arrest, since 5 August.
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to respond to Vaiko's plea that the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister be produced before the court.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said no one in the Valley was more devoted to the idea of a united India than Abdullah.
I have asked my family to tweet on my behalf the following:
I condemn the detention of Shri Farooq Abdullah under PSA. There is no one in Kashmir more devoted to the idea of a united India of which J&K is an integral part than Shri Farooq Abdulla.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) September 17, 2019
Reacting to a news report on Abdullah's arrest, Chidambaram's son and Congress MP Karti Chidambaram tweeted: "Nazi Nazi Nazi."
Assam Congress leader Tarun Gogoi called it a blatant misuse of power and threat to the survival of democracy in the country.
In a statement issued from National Conference headquarters, over 58 prominent leaders including some former legislators and ministers of Jammu region, said the detention of the "veteran visionary leader speaks of the desperation of the government"
They questioned the rationale behind slapping PSA on the "most secular and veteran leader" after the denial on 6 and 7 August that he was under house arrest — a reference to the statement of Union home minister Amit Shah in Parliament.
Expressing concern over the health of Abdullah, the NC leaders cautioned against "inhuman approach of the government".
Abdullah is a three-term chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, five-time parliamentarian and a former union minister.
Several leaders were detained or arrested on 4-5 August and restrictions imposed on communication and movement of people in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government has maintained that the steps were taken to maintain law and order and prevent any loss of life.
Restrictions have since been lifted in Jammu and Ladakh regions. The curbs have been eased in the Valley, though mobile and internet services are still suspended, according to officials.
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Updated Date: Sep 17, 2019 23:59:32 IST