New Delhi: Shah Faesal, a former bureaucrat, whose arrest along with other political leaders in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, has sparked outrage, was on Saturday detained under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows detention without trial for up to three months and multiple extensions.
The slapping of PSA on Faesal comes close on the heels of several top Kashmiri leaders being booked under the Act, such as former chief ministers, Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti and other bigwigs who were already under arrest.
Faesal, who had floated the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement party after resigning from the Indian Administrative Service, was a topper in the 2010 batch.
The young former bureaucrat denounced the civil services to protest "unabated killings" in Kashmir and the "marginalisation of Indian Muslims". He joined active politics in January 2019, but after the Centre abrogated Article 370 on August 5, which was condemned by all political outfits in Jammu & Kashmir, was arrested from Delhi airport on August 14.
His arrest, while on his way to the US, reportedly to complete his studies, sparked outrage across the country and abroad, since he had unequivocally opposed the demotion of J&K from a state to a Union territory.
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Following his arrest, about 120 faculty, students and alumni of Harvard University, where Faesal had studied, had written a letter to the Indian government, requesting to reconsider the decision to detain the bureaucrat turned politician.
“We are concerned about the latest restrictions and arrests of many local leaders including a Harvard student and politician, Shah Faesal,” the letter had said.
According to a human rights outfit, JKCCS, as many as 662 persons were booked under the draconian PSA in 2019, a majority of them after August 5 in Kashmir.
In a report titled by Annual Human Rights Review 2019 by Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), the outfits said that 412 persons in the region had been booked under PSA, often termed as a “lawless law”, after August 5. A majority of these persons continue to serve detention in jails across India, making it difficult for their family members to even meet them.