PDP demands changes in proposed Police Bill

Describing the proposed Police Bill as an attempt to institutionalise the dreaded ikhwan (renegade) culture in Jammu and Kashmir, opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday said it would strongly oppose its passage in the present form.

The PDP president Mehbooba Mufti agreed that police in the state definitely is in need of drastic reforms.

“Several provisions in this bill are undemocratic and anti people and will take the state back to medieval times when khaki uniform struck terror in the hearts of people,” she said.

“J&K has the dubious distinction of having been reduced to a police state outside the democratic system of the country. The proposed Bill would actually covert it to a lawless state. If this Bill is allowed to pass in its present form, we will have an ikhwani state in which the thanedar (SHO) and not the democratic institutions or the elected representatives will set the rules of the society,” she said.

“On one hand the government is making noises on scrapping the AFSPA and on the other it is proposing to provide similar immunity and unbridled powers to its own police and taking them out of all civilian control and guidance,” Mehbooba added.

The PDP president claimed the proposal to create special security zones (SSZs) and legalisation of village defence committees is dangerous for any society.

“But for a conflict ridden area it could be a sure prescription for continuing the disturbed conditions and denial of basic rights,” she said.

She said police actually needs to be brought out of the colonial mindset and practices that were followed by feudal forces to stay in power and the objective of any new law should be to make it more accountable to democratic institutions, people friendly and socially oriented.

“The proposed law unfortunately negates any such purpose,” she said.

The leader claimed that the backdoor offences have been included to increase the criminal liability of the public.

“It not just means taking people to jail for petty offences but is also a negation of social policing and larger public morality,” she said.

“If this Bill is passed, then a person can be jailed for wrong parking, cleaning furniture in a public place, urinating on the road side, not caring for pets, overtaking and breaking a queue for essential supplies,” she cautioned.

Mehbooba alleged that the government had deliberately chosen this time for inviting suggestions on the bill when means of communication have been severely restricted.

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