On March,24 the J&K administration has issued an order revoking the detention of Omar Abdullah, Former CM, J&K National Conference, who was initially detained under section 107 of Code of Criminal Procedure i.e. preventive custody and later under stringent Public Safety Act, 1978 from August 5th, 2019 when the detention under later expired on 5th February, 2020. He was under detention for almost 8 months since the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A. Mr. Abdullah’s “considerable influence” over people has been indicated to reinforce his detention under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), while another former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti was slapped with PSA for “working with the separatist.” The dossier also mentions Omar’s comments on social networking sites to provoke Kashmiri’s against the decisions on Articles 370 and 35(A) which had the “potential of disturbing public order”. He also made a sensational revelation that removing Article 370 might cause sudden movement of tectonic plates in the region resulting in the separation of Kashmir from India.
The release was a result of the Supreme Court’s Instruction on 18th March to J&K administration to release Abdullah or the case will be heard on merits after a week. Abdullah’s sister, Sara Abdullah Pilot filed a writ petition, habeas corpus, urging the Supreme Court to order the release of Omar Abdullah and also to quash the order by the State to detain him further which could be up to 2 years under PSA. After which the J&K administration released him after a week of the release of his father Farooq Abdullah. However, Mehbooba Mufti is still under detention under the PSA.
The petitioner contented the fact that the former CM, Omar Abdullah, had several disagreement with the policies of the State and it is a citizen’s fundamental right to demonstrate and make his point of view publicly know and also it’s the duty of the opposition to act as a watchdog on the behalf of people. The petition also points out that initial detention under Section 107 of CrPC has lapsed on Feb 5th, 2020 and the petitioner has challenged this order itself contending that there was no subsequent proceeding to inquire the terms of Section 116 of CrPC. The new order dated 5th Feb, 2020 would of no application on Abdullah since he has been in the custody of state for months, hence the government hasn’t justified the supporting grounds of this fresh detention under PSA.
Commemorating his release, the Congress party criticized the ruling BJP, calling the arrest of the former CM unconstitutional. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra expressed her happiness after Abdullah’s release and called the detention unconstitutional and undemocratic. She also urged the centre to restore democratic and constitutional rights to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well.
He turned 50 on 10th March and had spent 232 days in custody under draconian PSA, after walking out of the detention centre, Abdullah said Kashmiris are fighting “life and death” and also demanded the release of ex-CM Mehbooba Mufti other detainees whether political or non-political from the detention centres and house arrests.