End rights abuses in Kashmir, Amnesty tells India

End rights abuses in Kashmir, Amnesty tells India

End rights abuses in Kashmir, Amnesty tells India

A 70-page report released by the global rights watchdog Monday focuses on the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), terming it a “lawless law”.

The report - the first on Jammu and Kashmir since 2000 - documents how authorities are using the act to detain people for years at a time, without trial, “depriving them of basic human rights otherwise provided under Indian law”.

“Estimates of the number detained under the PSA over the past two decades range from 8,000-20,000,” said the report.

The report was based on research conducted in May 2010 and “subsequent analysis of government and legal documents relating to over 600 individuals detained under the PSA between 2003 and 2010".

The controversial act empowers district magistrates to detain people for up to two years for suspected offences ranging from anti-state activities to timber smuggling.

“By using the PSA to incarcerate suspects without adequate evidence, India has not only gravely violated their human rights but also failed in its duty to charge and try such individuals and to punish them if found guilty in a fair trial.”

Jammu and Kashmir has since 1989 witnessed a bloody separatist war - which India alleges is being sponsored by Pakistan and militant organisations there - during which tens of thousands of people have been killed.

“Amnesty International acknowledges the right, indeed the duty, of the state to defend and protect its population from violence. However, this must be done while respecting the human rights of all concerned,” the report said.