Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal, who is under detention in Srinagar for the last six months, has been slapped with the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) that allows authorities to detain a person for up to two years without trial, officials said on Saturday.
Sources said Faesal, who is being currently held at the MLA Hostel, was served with the order late on Friday. A senior officer in J-K administration also confirmed that the former IAS officer and head of Jammu & Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) was booked under PSA.
Shah Faesal is the latest leader from the region to be booked under the Act that empowers authorities to hold any person for two more years.
The administration has also booked former chief ministers Omar Abdullah of the National Conference (NC), Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party leader (PDP) and one each of their party colleagues under the PSA after they spent six months in preventive custody under the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Abdullah’s father Farooq had his arrest under the PSA extended for three months in December.
Senior PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar was also booked under PSA by the Jammu and Kashmir administration earlier in February. Others who have been charged under the PSA are Ali Mohammed Sagar, Sartaj Madani and Hilal Lone.
They were among the several leaders who were put under detention in August last year when the Centre pushed through provisions revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and moved to bifurcate the state into two Union Territories.
Shah Faesal was detained at the Delhi airport on August 14, 2019, after he reached the Capital from Srinagar and was sent back to Kashmir.
He was detained at the Centaur Hotel and later at MLA hostel. Officials said he will continue to be detained at the MLA hostel.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration had justified the detention of Faesal, who has been vocal against Centre’s move to abrogate Article 370, saying he instigated people gathered at the Srinagar airport against the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
In his first public meeting after quitting as an IAS officer, Shah Faesal had said Kashmir was a political problem that could not be solved by development packages. India and Pakistan should hold dialogue to resolve issue.
The 2009 IAS topper had resigned from the government services in 2018 over “unabated killings in Kashmir and absence of credible political initiative” from the Centre. The 37-year-old had likened his tenure in the bureaucracy to a jail term.
He had launched his political party in March last year. However, he didn’t contest the parliamentary elections held that year but his party was preparing for the assembly polls before the state was downgraded to a Union territory in August.
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