New Delhi: In her response to the government on Omar Abdullah’s detention under the Public Safety Act, his sister Sara Abdullah Pilot has pointed out that the government has made some very basic mistakes – including relying on social media posts that aren’t his.
She says in her affidavit, “on scrutiny of the verified Facebook account of the detenu, the deponent was shocked to discover that the said social media posts…that have been purportedly attributed to the detenu and have been maliciously used against him were not even made by the detenu through his verified Facebook account”.
None of the “offending” posts, Pilot reiterates, were made from Abdullah’s verified Facebook account. In some cases, the URLs provided were also broken. A link is provided to a profile that apparently belongs to Abdullah, but “it is found that the said URL is non-existent and that no page is hosted on the said URLs”.
Abdullah’s verified Facebook account can still be found online.
Given that the posts either don’t exist or were not posted Abdullah himself, and that these posts are the sole basis for his detention, Pilot has argued that his detention is “legally unsustainable and utterly unconstitutional”.
On Abdullah’s verified social media accounts, Pilot argues, there is ample proof that he asked people to stay calm and maintain peace.
She has also pointed questioned the administration’s argument that public order in Jammu and Kashmir had to be seen in the context of its geographical proximity to the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. This logic, she said, should then also apply to Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan.
Pilot continued that Abdullah had every right to oppose the Centre’s decision on Article 370. This “falls squarely within the realm of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed to every citizen of this country”, she said, and “the said right assumes greater significance when the right pertains to a person who being a former Chief Minister and former Leader of Opposition (State Assembly) is expected, by the rigors of the Constitution itself, to question and assail any decision of the dispensation in power.”
Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary, Srinagar district magistrate, had recently told the apex court in his affidavit that Abdullah “was, and continues to be, detained in conformity with the mandatory provisions of the PSA”. The administration had material and documents showing Abdullah’s “activities” were “calculated to disturb public peace and tranquillity”.
Read the full text of Pilot’s response below.