Farooq Abdullah, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and the National Conference president, has found place in the Parliamentary panel on Defence. Abdullah’s inclusion has stirred up the Kashmir debate as the leader has been in detention under the stringent Public Safety Act for more than 100 days since the abrogation of Article 370.
The committee is headed by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Other members include former defence minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, according to a notification issued by Parliamentary Affairs Ministry. Abdullah was detained on August 5, hours before the Union government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories.
His son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah and another ex-chief minister Mehbooba mufti were also detained along with more than 5,000 others across the state. Abdullah was slapped with the stringent PSA on September 17 on the eve of a Supreme Court hearing on a habeas corpus pertaining to his detention filed by MDMK leader Vaiko.
The National Conference chief and three-term chief minister has been booked under the 'public order' provision of the PSA under which a person can be kept in jail from three-six months without a trial.
The panel list created controversy after Pragya Singh Thakur, the BJP's MP from Bhopal, accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case was nominated to the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Defence. Thakur will be part of the 21-member consultative committee, which is headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh. The BJP MP who is currently under trial for multiple charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was granted bail by the Bombay high court on health grounds in April 2017 in the Malegaon blasts case that killed six people, injuring over hundred.
Pragya Thakur defeated Congress stalwart and former chief minister Digvijay Singh from Bhopal Lok Sabha Constituency.
During her campaigning days, the Malegaon blast accused had stirred a controversy that former Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Hemant Karkare died in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks as she had cursed him for treating her “very badly” while she was in custody in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. “Hemant Karkare falsely implicated me. He died of his karma. I told him, he will be destroyed. I told him his entire dynasty will be erased. Maine kaha tera (Karkare) sarvanash hoga,” she had said.
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