In a major development in Jammu and Kashmir, former chief minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah was detained under the Public Safety Act.

Abdullah’s Gupkar residence in Srinagar has been declared as a subsidiary jail, a government official said.

The PSA allows detention of any individual for up to two years without a trial. Ironically, the law was first promulgated during Sheikh Abdullah’s tenure, father of Farooq Abdullah.

Farooq Abdullah, 81, also a sitting Lok Sabha member from Srinagar has been under house arrest since August 5, when the Government of India abrogated Article 370 of the constitution that gave special powers to Kashmir.

Recently, National Conference MPs were allowed to visit Farooq and his son and also another former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, but with restrictions that they cannot interact with media following the meeting.

It was after Justice Sanjeev Kumar had allowed the petition filed by MPs Justice (retd.) Hasnain Masoodi (Anantnag) and Akbar Lone (Baramulla).

Abdullah’s detention came ahead of the Supreme Court issuing notices to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government on a plea by Tamil Nadu leader Vaiko seeking National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah’s release from detention.

Issuing notice to the Centre asking it to respond to the petition by Vaiko, the Supreme Court asked if Farooq Abdullah was still under detention.

The MDMK chief had filed a habeas corpus petition in the apex court to produce the former J-K CM.

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government to file an affidavit in the case and fixed the matter to September 30 for further hearing.

Around 400 politicians including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah are under house arrest since the Centre abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories on August 5.

The state government had earlier defended the preventive detentions of the leaders saying that they were made in accordance with the provisions of law to maintain law and order in the Valley.

Jammu and Kashmir was put under virtual curfew on 5 August when the Modi government scrapped the Article 370 and split the state into two union territories.

The Government has affirmed that restrictions in Kashmir are aimed at preventing Pakistan from creating trouble through proxies and terrorists.

(With inputs from IANS)