Revoke 'draconian' PSA in Kashmir: Amnesty

Revoke 'draconian' PSA in Kashmir: Amnesty

Amnesty International has expressed serious concern over the Jammu and Kashmir government’s alleged lack of determination to repeal the ‘draconian’ Public Safety Act (PSA) from the state.

Under the PSA, which is in force in the state since 1978, police can arrest any suspect and keep him/her in jail for two years without trial.

“The PSA can be repealed by the state government as the jurisdiction to repeal it lies with it. The amendments made in the provisions of the PSA are not sufficient and its existence has made the lives of the people of Valley troublesome,” Shashi Kumar Velath, Director AI Programme for India, said.

The three member AI team which besides Velath includes Sunita and Rahila Narchoor is on an eight-day visit to Kashmir.

“To get the latest figures about the detainees under PSA, we would meet mainstream political parties including civil society and local human rights activists in coming days,” he said. The objective of the AI is to investigate human rights violation cases and to report them, he added.

Velath said though current focus of AI is to get PSA repealed from the state, there are other issues like forced disappearance, discovery of unidentified graves, custodial torture which are under consideration.

He said since India has signed the treaty for the protection of human rights it is its duty to protect them in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Supreme Court and AI both have described the PSA lawless law and Amnesty is of the opinion that it should be revoked. J&K authorities often keep persons in detention even after the detentions have been quashed by the High Court,” Velath said.

Advocating the unconditional release of the all those who have been put behind the bars on the basis of certain ideology, the AI team demanded that all minor detunes should be released immediately.

“Those who have been arrested on the suspicion should be released immediately and provided medical facilities. All PSA detainees must be charged and prosecuted through a fair trial in a court of law or else released,” the team demanded.

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