Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged on Tuesday evening that the Modi government’s detention of former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah under the draconian Public Safety Act would create a political vacuum that would be filled by terrorists.
“The Government should stop creating space for terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir and release all nationalist leaders ASAP,” Gandhi tweeted.
81-year-old Abdullah, a National Conference leader, has been under house arrest since August 4, a day before the government revoked the state’s special status in a shock move. Two other former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, are also under house arrest, as are most other opposition leaders and workers in the state.
Reports said that the PSA was slapped on Abdullah on Sunday night, a day before the Supreme Court heard a plea on his detention filed by MDMK leader Vaiko. The court on Monday asked the Narendra Modi government and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to respond to the plea.
“Is Farooq Abdullah under any kind of detention?” asked the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the National Conference called the centre’s move an assault on the “democratic polity and ethos” of India.
“What could be the lowest depth of the political bankruptcy of the present ruling dispensation than slapping of PSA on one of the tallest leaders of the country, a five time Chief Minister, a sitting Member Parliament and a former minister at the Centre,” said the party in a statement, PTI reported.
More than a month since the abrogation of Article 370, Kashmir is still under a severe lockdown, with mobile and internet services still not available in most of the state.
Gandhi added in his tweet that if the move to penalise pro-India leaders creates an opening for more militancy, the issue of Kashmir will be permanently used to “polarise the rest of India”.