Police resort to ‘human rights’ violations in Kashmir, skip courts to detain youth under PSA

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir police are skipping courts to keep the youth in prisons and instead detain them by getting the orders issued by the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) under the "draconian" public safety act (PSA) in Srinagar.

Instead of turning to courts to grant the remand of those who are allegedly involved in incidents of stone pelting and damage to public property, police have detained the youth under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978. Under the act the Deputy Commissioner grants the permission to detain a person for a period of even 2-years after a dossier of anti-national activities is submitted by the concerned Senior Superintendents of police (SSPs). After the DC approves the PSA following the execution of the warrant by the police, based on the dossier being provided by the police, the PSA board of the Home department meets to approve the period of detention. Police officials admit that the detention is carried out under the PSA to ensure that the youth "don’t get the bail" from the courts. In the last over 110 days of unrest that started after the killing of HM militant commander, Burhan Muzafar Wani, police have registered at least 2,500 cases and detained over 3,000 people. Over 500 people have been detained under the PSA.

 Police resort to ‘human rights’ violations in Kashmir, skip courts to detain youth under PSA

Representational image. PTI

Mohammad Yusf Ganie, of Kawoosa Yarigund, Budgam, said that his 18-year old son, who had dropped out from 10th class, was among the many youth who have been detained by the police under the PSA over 2 months back. He said that his son, Adil Yusf, is currently lodged at Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu and they are not even able to inquire about his condition. "We had asked the authorities to shift him to any of the jails in Kashmir, but the request has not been heeded," said Yusuf. He said that one Friday afternoon, Adil went out to look for his brother, before they learnt from his relatives that he has been detained at Magam police station. "He had not indulged in any incident of stone pelting and had gone out to look for his brother when he was arrested. There was firing going on outside our house and his younger brother had gone out and didn’t return home."

Senior Superintendent of police (SSP), Kulgam, Shridhar Patil, however said that the PSA is being slapped against those youth who indulge in stone-pelting and resort to damage of public property. "The normal legal procedure is not so deterrent. Even if we book people under Unlawful activities act and provide the evidence, judiciary takes a comprehensive view. Generally bail gets granted after thorough scrutiny of preliminary inquiry,’’ Patil said. "If one person is causing law and order disturbance and by detaining of one person the property and life of many others is saved," he added. SSP Kulgam said that even in case of incidents of stone pelting where the attempt to murder charges are also being registered the accused get bailed out. "The PSA has been lodged against people who are a threat to the public order."

The PSA has been slapped against people not only in Kashmir region, but even to detain the youth in the Chenab Valley region of Jammu. In a recent PSA order which has been issued against one Advocate Hassan Babar of Doda, the Deputy Commissioner of Doda has noted in his order that he has been indulging in inflammatory and objectionable speeches which have the potential to "cause a serious law and order problem." "Some of your anti-national activities are highly prejudicial to the maintenance of public peace and order," noted the PSA order. As per the order under section 8 of Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978, Hassan Babar Nehru, was detained in central jail, Kot Bhalwal.

"The section 13 of the PSA act provides for that if a person is aggrieved of the order he can approach the Home department to be heard in person by the Advisory Board after making a representation to the government under the detention order," the order further read.

In a similar such case Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir recently intimated the agriculture department that based on the intimation received from Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, and on the basis of recommendations submitted by the SSP Kupwara, detention under PSA was issued against one Ghulam Mohammad Mir who works as a class-IV employee of agriculture department "for his involvement in the anti-national activities."

The PSA issued against human rights activist, Khuram Parvaiz, notes that the senior superintendent of police (SSP) Srinagar issued an order dated 19 September 2016 which said that he achieved "prominent" position in the separatist camps under a hidden cover of being a human rights activist. The dossier mentions that in the ongoing unrest Khuram was found instigating the "disgruntled" elements to resort to "illegal activities." Noting his involvement, SSP in the dossier mentioned that Khuram joined the human rights organisation, Human Resources, and became its chairman in April 2004 and in 2005 he got associated with the newly floated Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and started working as its co-ordinator. "You (Khurram) have a secessionist ideology and inclination towards secessionism and during the present unrest have remained instrumental in instigating the disgruntled elements to resort to violence by indulging in stone pelting upon security force personnel which in turn disrupts the public order."

Legal expert and Advocate Bhat Fayaz, who has fought many PSA cases, said that "once PSA is invoked the right of liberty gets curtailed and a person can’t be bailed out during the course of detention order and this is the purport of the act. It is in the interest of the security of the state and to maintain the public order and under the act person’s movement is being curtailed." He added that the PSA is a measure of deterrence. Fayaz said that even if the high court quashes the PSA against the people and the order specifies that a person has to be released if he is not required in any other case "the authorities invoke other cases against him to keep him under detention." He added that the period of detention ranges from 6 months to 2 years. "In case of riots mostly the PSA is invoked for at least 6 months," he said.

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Updated Date: Oct 29, 2016 09:59:52 IST