The detention of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti under the stringent Public Safety Act was extended by three months, hours before it was due to expire.
In a similar move, the detention of former minister and senior National Conference leader Ali Mohammed Sagar, and senior PDP leader and uncle of Mehbooba Mufti, Sartaj Madani, was also extended by another three months, officials said.
In a brief order by the Home Department of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, the extension of PSA was made under the public order provisions of the act.
While Mehbooba Mufti is at present lodged at her official residence ‘Fair View’, which has been converted into a subsidiary jail, Sagar and Madani are in a government accommodation at Gupkar road.
Mehbooba Mufti was initially detained on August 5 last year when the Centre abrogated special status of the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
Later, her six-month preventive custody was extended by invoking PSA on February 5 this year along with her political rival and former chief minister Omar Abdullah.
Having spent over eight months in detention at two government facilities that were designated as sub-jails, Mufti was shifted to her home on April 7, a move seen as a partial relief to her.
Earlier, Mehbooba Mufti was lodged in a government guesthouse in Chashma Shahi and a bungalow on Maulana Azad Road near Lal Chowk. Mufti heads the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which was in power in Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with the BJP till June 2018.
Several political leaders including Omar, Mehbooba Mufti and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah were detained by the authorities on August 5. The PSA of senior Abdullah and his son was revoked earlier in March this year.
Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter, Iltija, has moved a habeas corpus petition before the Supreme Court in February challenging her mother’s detention.
A three-judge bench had issued a notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration seeking its response on the plea and posted the matter for March 18. However, the petition was not taken up for hearing due to coronavirus outbreak.
Habeas corpus is a writ seeking production of a person supposed to be in illegal detention before a court.