Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti who were under preventive detention for the past six month, were on Thursday night booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) without charges, barely hours before their arrest was to come to an end.

Under PSA a person can be kept under detention without trial for up to two year. While senior Abdullah was slapped with the stringent PSA on September 17 last year which was reviewed by authorities on December 15, 2019 and it was agreed that he would continue to remain in detention for another 90 days.

Earlier in the day, National Conference (NC) General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar and senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Sartaj Madani, an uncle of Mehbooba Mufti,  too were booked under the PSA.

Omar Abdullah will continue to be kept at Hari Niwas, a state guest house, and Mehbooba Mufti will continue her arrest at a government house in Srinagar.

Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija, who is currently handling her Twitter account confirmed the detention order on Twitter.

The tweet read, “Ms Mufti received a PSA order sometime back.Slapping the draconian PSA on 2 ex J&K CMs is expected from an autocratic regime that books 9 year olds for ‘seditious remarks’. Question is how much longer will we act as bystanders as they desecrate what this nation stands for?”

Iltija said their lives resemble an ‘Orwellian dystopia’ where the establishment brooks no dissent or difference of opinion.

49-year-old Omar was handed over a warrant issued under the PSA, a law which was enacted by his grandfather Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah in 1978 initially to check timber smuggling.

The PSA, which came handy for police force to book separatists and militant sympathisers, has two sections — ‘public order’ and ‘threat to security of the state’. The former allows detention without trial for six months and the latter for two years.

Yesterday while speaking on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address in the Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Mehbooba Mufti had said on August 5 that India had betrayed Kashmir, hinting at the move.

Modi said, “She said we made the wrong decision in 1947… Do the people here support these statements? Omar Abdullah said abrogation of Article 370 will bring such an earthquake that Kashmir will separate from the country. Farooq Abdullah said the abrogation will open the way for Kashmir’s independence… Can anyone agree with such language?”

Modi asserted that the government won’t allow peace to be disturbed anywhere in the country, be it Kashmir or the northeast.

Several political leaders were picked up from their residences on August 5 last year, the day the Centre had withdrawn the special status given to J-K under Article 370 of the Constitution and divided the state into two Union Territories — Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The two Union Territories came into existence on October 31 last year.

A total of 35 mainstream politicians were moved from the Centaur Hotel on the banks of the Dal Lake to the MLA Hostel on November 18 as Srinagar reeled under harsh winter and the hotel lacked proper heating arrangement.

Meanwhile the three former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — continue to remain under detention and are now facing PSA.