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Omar Abdullah's sister challenges his detention under PSA in SC, calls move "arbitrary and whimsical"

Press Trust of India 

NC leader Omar Abdullah's sister on Monday challenged in the Supreme Court his detention under the stringent J&K Public Safety Act(PSA) terming the move "arbitrary and whimsical" even as authorities called his fellow detained party leader Hilal Lone as a "poster boy" who can easily instigate people to agitate.

In her plea, Sara Abdullah Pilot submitted that the order of detention under the stringent PSA is "manifestly illegal" and there is no question of him being a "threat" to the maintenance of public order.

"The detention order is arbitrary, vague, irrelevant, whimsical and fanciful and deserves to be quashed by an appropriate writ of this court," it said.

The detention of Omar and Mehbooba Mufti, both former chief ministers of undivided Jammu and Kashmir, was slammed by Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who said it is "pretty clear" the government has no basis to charge them under the PSA. She demanded that the two leaders be freed.

CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami termed the grounds for booking the two under PSA as"hilarious" and said it shows the "intellectual and moral bankruptcy" of the BJP government at the Centre.

The PSA was invoked against Hilal Lone, the son of National Conference(NC) Lok Sabha member Mohammad Akbar Lone, for belonging to a party whose manifesto is to agitate against abrogation of special status of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir, officials said in Srinagar.

The 47-year-old Hilal Lone, who has been under preventive detention since August 5 last year when the Centre announced the abrogation of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state's special status besides its bifurcation into union territories, has also been accused of being the "brain child" behind the "seditious and anti-national" statements given by his father.

On Monday morning, the Deputy Commissioner of Bandipore served Hilal with a dossier informing him that he had been booked under the PSA as the union territory administration felt that his release could hamper the law and order situation in north Kashmir, the officials said.

"You being a probable MLA candidate of National Conference are a probable threat to the public peace and tranquility as you belong to the party whose manifesto is to agitate against the abrogation of Article 370, 35-A of Constitution of India," the two-page detention order said.

"Being a poster boy of NC and son of senior party leader Mohd Akbar Lone of Sonawari locality, you will find it easy to exploit the innocent people and will instigate them to agitate and protest against the abrogation" of special status."

He was also accused of threatening the sovereignty of the country for his statement that the party will fight "till last breath" if the special status was withdrawn during the Parliament election campaign last year."


Omar Abdullah's petition submitted that exercise of powers by authorities under the CrPC to detain individuals, including political leaders, was "clearly mala fide to ensure that the opposition to the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution is silenced".

It further said the intent of exercise of power was to "incarcerate not just him (Omar Abdullah) but the entire leadership of the National Conference, as well as the leadership of other political parties, who were similarly dealt with including Farooq Abdullah, who has served the state and the union over several years... stood by India whenever the situation so demanded."

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Pilot, mentioned the plea for urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana.

Sibal told the bench that they have filed a habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of Omar Abdullah under the PSA and the matter should be heard this week.

The bench agreed for listing of the matter.

"It is rare that those who have served the nation as members of Parliament, Chief Ministers of a state, ministers in the Union and have always stood by the national aspirations of India are now perceived as a threat to the state," the plea said.

"In fact, a reference to all the public statements and messages posted by the detenue (Omar Abdullah) during the period up to his first detention would reveal that he has kept calling for peace and co-operation - messages which in Gandhi's India cannot remotely affect public order."

The PSA has two sections -- 'public order' and 'threat to the security of the state'. The former allows detention without trial for six months and the latter for two years.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 10 2020. 21:26 IST
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