In a bid to quell the ongoing agitation, the J&K Government has booked more than 65 persons under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA) in the past 44 days while 50-60 fresh dossiers have been prepared to carry out further detentions under the law which the Amnesty International has termed ‘lawless law’ and against international human rights obligations.
Details gathered by Greater Kashmir from deputy commissioners and district police chiefs reveal that 65 persons have been booked under PSA post Burhan Wani killing by forces on July 8 in south Kashmir’s Islamabad (Anantnag) district.
According to sources, 50-60 fresh dossiers have been prepared by district police chiefs to book more civilians under the law which has come under sharp criticism from human rights bodies as PSA enables the State to detain anyone for up to two years without trial.
“These fresh cases are at pre-execution stage. The warrants would be executed once they are cleared by DCs and State Home Ministry,” sources disclosed.
Sources also revealed that the administration is “indiscriminately” and “arbitrarily” applying PSA against people in all 10 districts of Kashmir.
“We have got instructions from the higher-ups to book the protesters under the law,” said a Deputy Commissioner, wishing anonymity.
“A video-conference was also recently held by the Government to discuss the issue.”
Kashmir is witnessing massive pro-freedom protest demonstrations since July 8, notwithstanding the restrictions and curfew imposed by the authorities in nook and corner of the region.
Under PSA, the detention period is three months in case of public disorder and six months in a case involving security of the State.
However, in both situations there is provision for revision and the detention period can be extended to 1 year and 2 years respectively.
When contacted, Principal Secretary Home, Raj Kumar Goyal said he is busy in a meeting. Later, he did not respond to repeated calls from this newspaper.
In the past, successive regimes of J&K have come under sharp criticism for booking people under PSA.
In 2011, the Amnesty International described the PSA as a ‘lawless law’. A year later, the rights group said, “In 2012, this assessment continues to hold true. Despite seemingly positive political and legal developments in recent months, the PSA and its implementation in JK continue to violate India’s obligations under international human rights law,” the report read.