Farooq Abdullah, detained under PSA, on parliamentary committee panel
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has been included in a 21-member consultative committee on defence even as he remains detained under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) after being accused of having 'tremendous potential to create public disorder'.
The name of the 81-year-old National Conference leader, in detention at his Srinagar home for over 100 days, tops the list of members of the panel headed by Union defence minister Rajnath Singh.
The committee's other members include former defence minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, according to a notification issued by parliamentary affairs ministry. Also in the list is terror case accsued BJP MP Pragya Thakur, whose inclusion has been slammed by the Congress.
Abdullah was detained on August 5, hours before the Union government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories.
Union home minister Amit Shah had told Parliament on August 6 that Farooq “is not under house arrest, he is not under detention. He is in good health, mauj-masti mein hain, aap zara baat kar lo (He is having a good time, you talk to him).”
His son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah and another ex-chief minister Mehbooba mufti were also detained along with more than 5,000 others across the state.
Abdullah was slapped with the PSA on September 17 on the eve of a Supreme Court hearing on a habeas corpus pertaining to his detention filed by MDMK leader Vaiko.
Opposition parties have been raising the issue of his detention.
On the first day of the winter session of Parliament, they demanded his immediate release, calling the detention 'illegal.' The leaders also asked that Union home minister Amit Shah issue a statement regarding the issue.
As Shah was not present in the House, speaker Om Birla defended the home minister saying he was right when he told Parliament in August that Abdullah was not under detention.
Birla said it was only later that written information of Farooq’s detention had reached the Lok Sabha secretariat.
The NC chief and three-term chief minister has been booked using the 'public order' provision of the PSA under which a person can be kept in jail from three-six months without a trial.
Abdullah, the PSA order stated, 'has tremendous potential for creating an environment of public disorder within the district (Srinagar) and other parts of the Valley'.
It also accuses him of being a person seen as fanning the emotions of general masses against the country.