India arrests former Kashmir chief minister

Farooq Abdullah

Farooq Abdullah, 81, who also was the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, was arrested at his residence in Srinagar, the summer capital of the disputed Himalayan region. His house has been declared as a subsidiary jail.

Most political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), including Abdullah, have been under detention since August 5, when the government announced the abrogation of Article 370 that granted a special status to J&K. "If he (Abdullah) does not want to come out of his house, he can not be brought out at gunpoint", Shah said, when other parliamentarians expressed concern over Abdullah's absence during the debate on Kashmir's status.

The politician, 83, been charged with "disturbing public order" under the law, which means shorter detention of three months. Usually, it has been used to arrest terrorists, separatists or stone-throwers. "We're not gun-runners, grenade-throwers, stone-throwers, we believe in a peaceful resolution of things", Abdullah said. It was Mr Abdullah's father Sheikh Abdullah who brought the law in 1978 to prevent timber smuggling.

Meanwhile, in a separate development on Monday, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said he will travel to Jammu and Kashmir, if required, to check allegations that accessing Jammu and Kashmir High Court has become hard.

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Vaiko told the court that for several years, he has been organising a conference in Chennai on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Tamil Nadu chief minister Thiru.

"The actions of the respondents (government) are completely illegal and arbitrary and violative of the right to protection of life and personal liberty, right to protection from arrest and detention and also against right to free speech and expression which is the cornerstone of a democratic nation", Mr Vaiko said. The party will legally challenge the detention, Masoodi said.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer issued notice to the Centre and the State, and fixed Rajya Sabha MP and MDMK leader Vaiko's plea for hearing on 30 September.

Amnesty International in June said that the PSA "circumvents the criminal justice system in Jammu & Kashmir to undermine accountability, transparency, and respect for human rights".

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