Srinagar: Farooq Abdullah, a three-term chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and five-time parliamentarian, was arrested on Monday under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) and his residence was declared a jail, officials said here.
Abdullah has been under detention since August 5, the day the Centre abrogated special status of the state, and the PSA was slapped against him hours before the Supreme Court heard a petition by MDMK leader Vaiko who claimed that Abdullah has been illegally detained in the state.
The National Conference chairman has been booked under the ‘public order’ provision of the PSA under which a person can be kept inside jail from three to six months without a trial, the officials said.
Abdullah was served the notice under the PSA at 1 am on Monday and his Gupkar road house declared a jail, the officials said.
The 81-year-old Abdullah, who became the first chief minister against whom the PSA has been invoked, has a heart pacemaker implanted and had undergone a kidney transplant a few years ago.
Immediately after the detention of the sitting Lok Sabha MP, barricading came up on the Gupkar Road and concertina wire laid on the ground to regulate traffic.
The PSA has two sections – ‘public order’ and ‘threat to security of the state’. The former allows detention without trial for three to six months and the latter for two years.
Abdullah had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his son Omar Abdullah last month, days before the state’s special status was withdrawn.
His detention was to ensure that he did not participate in any rally being organised by Vaiko in view of forthcoming United Nations General Assembly, some leaders of his party National Conference said, requesting anonymity.
After invoking of the PSA, the government has to constitute a committee which confirms the action. The aggrieved party can represent their case in the High Court for quashing of the PSA.
The PSA is applicable only in Jammu and Kashmir. Elsewhere in the country, the equivalent law is the National Security Act (NSA).
Besides Abdullah, his son and former chief minister Omar and ex-chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, several other leaders have been under detention since August 5, when the government announced the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state into the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Abdullah had last addressed media while climbing a wall of his home on August 6 and said that he was pained at the Centre’s decision on Article 370.
The Supreme Court asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to respond to the Vaiko’s plea that Abdullah be produced before a court.