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Mehbooba, Omar booked under PSA; Chidambaram calls it a disgrace

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Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, besides two political stalwarts from National Conference (NC) and its arch-rival People’s Democratic Party (PDP), were booked under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) by the administration on Thursday (February 6), officials said here.

The PSA carries provisions that allows detention without trial for up to two years.

While the news is a huge dampener for the political outfits in Kashmir, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday (February 7), called the invocation of the draconian law the “worst abomination in a democracy”.

“Shocked and devastated by the cruel invocation of the Public Safety Act against Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and others. Detention without charges is the worst abomination in a democracy. When unjust laws are passed or unjust laws are invoked, what option do the people have than to protest peacefully,” he tweeted.

Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chidambaram said, “The PM says that protests will lead to anarchy and laws passed by Parliament and legislatures must be obeyed. He has forgotten history and the inspiring examples of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela”. “Unjust laws must be opposed through peaceful resistance and civil disobedience. That is satyagraha,” he added.

A magistrate accompanied by police served the order to Mufti at the bungalow where she has been detained, officials said. Abdullah who was also booked under the PSA, will stay in custody at Hari Niwas, a state guest house.

Abdullah’s father and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah was detained under the PSA last September.

National Conference general secretary and former minister Ali Mohammed Sagar, who wields a support base in downtown city, was served with a PSA notice public order by the authorities.

Similarly, senior PDP leader Sartaj Madani was booked under the PSA. Madani is the maternal uncle of former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Both Sagar and Madani were detained in the aftermath of August 5 crackdown by the Centre on politicians following abrogation of special status of the erstwhile state, besides its bifurcation into two union territories. Their six-month preventive custody was ending on Thursday.

Earlier, the officials had said that former NC legislator Bashir Ahmed Veeri was also booked under the PSA but later it turned out that he had been released.

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