With elections drawing nearer, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah Thursday promised to repeal the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA), if his National Conference is elected with a majority.
“I assure you and through you I assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir that the day National Conference makes its government on its own, God willing in 2019, within days I will repeal PSA. I am telling you (workers) that I will blot it out from the papers forever,” he said while address party workers’ in south Kashmir’s Pulwama.
According to the 2010 Amnesty report ‘A Lawless Law: Detentions under the Public Safety Act (PSA)’, 10,000-20,000 people have been detained under this preventive detention law since it was enacted in 1978.
The PSA, one of the forms of administrative detention, ostensibly enacted by Omar’s grandfather and then CM late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah to take action against the timber mafia, allows preventive detention for people against whom there may be no recognised criminal offence. It provides for detention for a maximum of two years in the case of persons acting in any manner “prejudicial to the security of the state”.
On armed forces special powers act (AFSPA), Omar said they know it won’t be revoked without the consent of the Center. “And for that we will discuss it with the Center. But what about state laws why we can’t revoke them,” he said referring to the PSA.
“Why would our youth be arrested under PSA? Why parents suffer when their children are being lodged for months. Governments are meant to heal the wounds of people and to provide relief to them,” Omar added.
He also appealed the people to vote one party to the power as according to him the state witnessed many “handicapped” governments in the form of coalitions in the last 16-years. “We have seen enough of handicapped governments where we remain at the mercy of someone. Late Mufti (Muhammad Sayeed) was there (CM) courtesy (Ghulam Nabi) Azad and Azad was CM thanks to Mufti. And I remained in power for six years because of Congress support,” Omar said.
Reasoning further for one party rule in Jammu and Kashmir, Omar said “that is why we want a government on our own so that we will rectify certain things.”