When the entire world, Jammu and Kashmir included, is fighting the deadly coronavirus, the administration has order revocation of Public Safety Act (PSA) against Omar Abdullah, a two time chief minister of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The National Conference leader, who turned 50 on March 10, has been under detention since August 5, when the Centre announced the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and its bifurcation into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The order revoking the PSA against him was issued by the UT’s Home Secretary. Abdullah was booked under the stringent act on February 5, hours before his six-month custody under preventive detention was to end.
Omar is the second top political leader after his father Farooq Abdullah who has been set free from detention. Prior, to this, Farooq Abdullah, was also charged under the PSA was released on March 13 after 221 days in detention.
On February 5, Omar Abdullah, who was junior foreign minister and commerce minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led Cabinet in 2000, was served with a three-page dossier that was challenged in the Supreme Court by his sister. The Supreme Court last week asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to inform by this week if it was releasing him.
Now that the two former chief ministers have been set free the third former CM, Mehbooba Mufti continues to be under detention. Though her daughter had just yesterday appealed the authorities to release her mother, but as of now there is no word from the administration about her being released.
The release of two NC leaders has meant that the stalemate over the role of mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir may end soon. Since the top leadership of all the regional and local political parties were put under detention, the political activities had come to a grinding halt.
Though some movement forward was witnessed several days back when a former PDP leader and now President the ‘Apni Party’ Altaf Bukhari announced formation of a new outfit comprising leaders who were at one point of time either connected to the PDP, Congress or the NC, but the act failed to generate the interest some quarters were made to beleive.
Since the announcement did make any formidable ripples in the political circles the only option that the union government has in Jammu and Kashmir, it seems has been resorted to.
The release of detainees should now be widened and those leaders including Shah Feasal and others like him too need to be set free.
Jammu and Kashmir needs a political solution and the way things are panning out, this seems to be the only option for the federal government to resort to.