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Stop creating space for terrorists in J&K, release 'nationalist' Abdullah: Rahul Gandhi


New Delhi, Sep 17: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused the central government of creating a political vacuum in Jammu and Kashmir by "removing nationalist leaders" like National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah.

 Rahul Gandhi

"It's obvious that the Government is trying to remove nationalist leaders like Farooq Abdullah Ji to create a political vacuum in Jammu and Kashmir that will be filled by terrorists. Kashmir can then permanently be used as a political instrument to polarise the rest of India," tweeted the Congress leader.

Several opposition politicians have denounced the move to use on Farooq Abdullah the PSA, a law that enables detention for up to two years without trial and has so far been applied to terrorists, separatists and stone-throwers in Jammu and Kashmir.

The tough law against the 81-year-old patron of the National Conference, confined to his home since the government revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status, was imposed on Sunday.

The three-time chief minister's Gupkar Road residence has been declared a jail through a government order, they said.

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He has been arrested under the 'public order' of the PSA, which empowers authorities to detain him for six months without trial. The PSA has two sections -- 'public order' and 'threat to security of the state', the former allowing for detention without trial for six months and the latter for two years.

Abdullah, the Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar, is the first Jammu and Kashmir chief minister to be booked under the PSA.

His detention under the PSA came a day before the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to respond to a plea that the former chief minister be produced before a court.

The petition was filed by MDMK leader Vaiko, who sought Abdullah's release so he could attend an event in Chennai. Vaiko and Abdullah are said to be close friends for four decades.

The PSA is applicable only in Jammu and Kashmir. Elsewhere in the country, it is the National Security Act (NSA).

Abdullah's son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah and another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, as well as several other leaders have also been under detention since August 5, when the government announced the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

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