Baig criticises govt for slapping PSA against Abdullah

Baig criticises govt for slapping PSA against Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah. (AFP Photo)

National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah received unexpected support on Thursday from his political adversary, senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussian Baig, who criticised the government for slapping the stringent Public Safety Act against the former chief minister, saying that he always stood for India.

He said Abdullah was initially detained under Section 107 of the RPC (now IPC) but was later booked under the PSA after MDMK leader Vaiko had filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking that the Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar be produced before a court.

The Public Safety Act enables authorities to detain any individual for up to two years without trial.

"Under 107 IPC, people are being arrested for any law and order problem. Those who took an oath of the Indian constitution, stood up against Hurriyat while their family members were killed by militants have been arrested. Why don't you leave them? If you have some proof of their involvement in militancy or law and order, then put them in jail

"Farooq Abdullah is the person who always raised Bharat mata ki jai slogans," Baig said.

He said other people who have been jailed or detained should be immediately released.

The senior PDP leader also batted for granting domicile rights to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir to protect their jobs and land ownership rights on the lines of Himalayan and Northeast states.

He also said it will be a call of the Centre on restoring the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.

"The domicile, protection of property and jobs of J and K people should be ensured as per the Article 371 of the Constitution or otherwise as applicable in Himalayan and Northeast states," Baig said.

"There was nothing left in Article 370. Unfortunately, some leaders of local parties also did some blunders by giving a wrong impression to the people by saying that Article 370 is giving the state a separate identity," he said.

Baig, a former deputy chief minister, met reporters here on a day when envoys from 15 countries were in the newly carved out union territory, and it was the first interaction by any PDP leader with mediapersons since August 5 when the Centre announced nullification of the erstwhile state's special status.

Officials had on Friday last said the Centre was examining the option of introducing mandatory requirement of 15-year residency in government jobs, ownership of land, seats in professional and college education in Jammu and Kashmir to allay apprehensions of locals.

The move came after several organisations in Jammu and Kashmir expressed fears of outsiders grabbing jobs, lands and seats in academic institutions after the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories.

On Tuesday, eight former legislators led by Syed Altaf Bukhari had met Lieutenant Governor and made a slew of demands including restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.

The delegation had submitted a 15-point memorandum demanding rights of people over land and jobs be safeguarded, detainees be released and cases against youth be withdrawn among others.

Baig criticised the PDP and the NC for boycotting the panchayat polls and said it was a "wrong decision".

He blamed the division of pre-Independent India on British.

"Two Nation Theory was neither created by Jinnah nor Savarkar, but this theory was formulated by the British. Under this, they divided Hindus and Muslims," he said.

On the role of Pakistan in Kashmir, Baig said the country should stop aiding and abetting terrorism and abide by the Shimla agreement for a dialogue to resolve issues.

"During the visit of foreign diplomats to Kashmir last time. I interacted with five or six EU MPs. They asked me one question only. 'What is your take on Kashmir?', I said that Pakistan is bound by the Shmila agreement to resolve this issue through dialogue. Pakistan should take effective steps to stop the influx of terrorists (bundookwala) into Kashmir and hold a dialogue," he added. 

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