The former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah’s sister, Sara Abdullah Pilot has moved to Supreme Court challenging his detention under the Public Safety Act. Omar has been in detention since 5 August 2019, when Centre abrogated Article 370 and converted Jammu and Kashmir into a union territory.
The habeas corpus petition filed by Sara, through the Senior advocate Kapil Sibal has sought for Omar to be physically present while quashing his detention. The counsel for the petitioner mentioned the matter for urgent listing, which was agreed by the bench headed by Justice N V Ramana.
Before the expiry of the detention period of six months which was earlier ordered on 5 August 2019 under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, fresh detention orders under the Public Safety Act were issued against Omar and another ex-Chief Minister of J&K, Mehbooba Mufti in February 2020, citing that Omar harbored ‘radical thoughts’ to garner votes even during the peak of militancy and poll boycotts.
Through the present petition, Sara contended that the detention is purely based on political reasons. She argued that the dossier “contains patently false and ridiculous material, essentially accusing the detenu of becoming a popular figure among general masses and possessing considerable influence over people.” The petition also noted that in the last few tweets on 4 August, Omar has reportedly asked people of Kashmir to maintain calm.
On the other hand, the National Conference spokesman, Imran Nabi Dar has termed the charges as shocking and stated that ‘it is ironic that Omar has been charged for asking people to come out for a vote.’
The case against Omar, who has been the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir from 2009 to 2014, said that his activities suggest that the ‘ideology of the subject is favoring radical thoughts which he has also turned into actions.’ He was further accused of convincing people to participate in elections in huge numbers and exercise their democratic right to vote despite threats from militants.
Omar Abdullah was also a former minister of state for external affairs.