Won't seek legal aid as others deprived, Shah Faesal to HC

Last Updated: Thu, Sep 12, 2019 20:28 hrs

Sources told IANS that Faesal, in an affidavit filed before the high court for withdrawing his plea, has stated that "he no longer wishes to pursue the present petition as a legal remedy against his unlawful detention".

The sources also said that the move comes asr Faesal told his wife to withdraw the petition, alleging that many others who are also detained at such centres have no access to legal counsel or other remedies.

The affidavit was filed before a division bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal which allowed Faesal to withdraw the habeas corpus petition.

On September 3, he had told the court that the Look-Out Circular issued against him was a "mala fide exercise of power" and a "highly suspect exercise for which no reasonable ground is made out".

Faesal, who was stopped from flying abroad last month and sent to Srinagar where he was placed under confinement, also had rebutted the claims of the Jammu and Kashmir government regarding the events of his arrest, and termed its version "patently untrue".

The government had stated that Faesal, who was taken from New Delhi to Srinagar late on August 14, "upon his arrival in Srinagar, while he was still accompanied with armed security officers, allegedly started to address a large gathering of people inside the arrival terminal and mobilising people, leading to the police allegedly making a report and an Executive Magistrate being brought in person to the airport itself".

In his response, Faesal had stated: "Firstly, the version of the events is implausible because August 14, which is one day before Independence Day, there was exceptionally heavy security in every part of Srinagar, especially the airport."

"The number of flights landing in Srinagar in the evening on the 14th, and the number of passengers travelling to Srinagar in the midst of current communication and transport blockades, is naturally very few, so there is no chance of any crowding in the airport... Therefore, it is truly inconceivable that there could have been any 'large gathering' of people."

Faesal also noted that when the plane carrying the petitioner landed in Srinagar, all other passengers were made to wait on board till he made to disembark first, surrounded by special armed security forces, and handed over to security forces in Srinagar.

"Thereafter, the petitioner was surrounded by 10-15 security force personnel... the petitioner was whisked through the airport, put into the car, and taken directly to the detention centre in Srinagar."

Faesal further stated that there was clearly no factual reason to prompt the alleged police report on the subsequent order of detention and the said order has been passed with "mala fide" intent in the absence of any production before a magistrate.

Faesal had knocked the doors of the court against his detention. The plea, filed by his friend, sought the release of the ex-bureaucrat.

The court had listed the matter for further hearing on September 12 as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was not available for advancing arguments in the matter.

Faesal's peititon contended that he was "illegally picked up" from the airport while he was on his way to Harvard University in the US where he was going to complete his fellowship.

"The circumstances of his illegal custody from Delhi point to his Unlawful and illegal detention that effectively amounts to an abduction," the plea said.

The plea further stated that after his "illegal detention" in the intervening night of August 14-15, Faesal was "illegally whisked away to Kashmir against his wishes. No transit remand was sought in Delhi before illegally taking him to Srinagar."

Faesal, who quit the Indian Administrative Service in January to form the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples' Movement (JKPM), had been posting tweets and Facebook content highly critical of the government's move abrogating Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and split the state into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.