New Delhi, Jan 3: Home Minister Amit Shah has said neither he nor anyone from the government has ever called the three detained former chief ministers of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir “anti-national”, and added that a decision on their release will be taken by the administration of the union territory.
Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti had to be detained for “some time” after they made provocative statements, the home minister said on Thursday night while addressing an event organised by media outlet ABP News.
“Please see the statements made by them, like the entire country will be on fire if Article 370 was touched…In the backdrop of these statements, a professional decision was taken to keep them under detention for some time,” Shah said at the news summit.
Such statements amounted to giving Pakistan an invitation to discuss Article 370, he said.
“Everyone including the Congress, is asking questions about the detentions. Surprisingly, Congress has forgotten that it had jailed Farooq Abdullah’s Sheikh Abdullah for 12 years in Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu,” the home minister said, adding that the opposition party had also incarcerated 60,000 politicians across the country for 19 months.
“And these people (the Congress) are asking us questions within six months…,” he said, in a reference to the Emergency from 1975-1977.
Many political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, including the three former chief ministers, were detained on August 5, the day the Centre announced abrogation of Article 370 provisions and bifurcation of the state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
While Farooq Abdullah has been booked under the stringent Public Safety Act and confined to his Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar, which has been declared a sub-jail, his son Omar Abdullah has been detained at Hari Niwas. PDP Chief Mufti was lodged at Chesmashahi hut initially but later shifted to a government accommodation.
To a question pointing out that Abdullahs’ National Conference and Mufti’s PDP were alliance partners of the BJP at some point of time and the leaders were now being labelled “anti-national”, the home minister made it clear that neither he nor anyone from the government had called them so.
“As far as the decision to release them is concerned, this decision will be taken by the local administration and not me,” he said, adding that the administration will release them whenever it deems it suitable.
Shah said the situation in the Kashmir Valley was under control and day-to-day life was going on smoothly.
“Not a single inch in Kashmir is under curfew today,” he added.