Omar against scrapping of Public Safety Act

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is adamant on revoking the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state, but he is opposed to scrapping the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA).

“The PSA was introduced in the state on April 8, 1978, when militancy had not even taken off, and its basic aim was to deal with timber smuggling,” Omar, who also holds the home portfolio, said in a written reply in the Assembly on Wednesday.

The chief minister said his government will not allow misuse of the law. “In the present circumstances, the government has no intention or plans whatsoever to scrap the law,” he said.

However, the Omar said his government is committed to continuing its efforts for the revocation of AFSPA which was enforced in the state on July 5, 1990, to deal with insurgency.

He admitted that for the revocation of the controversial law, there have been demands from political establishment, separatists and people from other walks of life.

“To address the demands, the government has constituted two committees, one each in Jammu and Srinagar so that the areas where from AFSPA could be revoked are identified,” he said. “The recommendations are awaited.”

He also informed the House that there was no minor or woman presently detained under the PSA.  “There is no youth below 18 held under the PSA till 18 March 18 and no woman under the same law till March 20,” he said. Till March 23, there were 100 women lodged in different jails across the state.

Thirteen of them have been convicted.

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