Srinagar, October 18, 2012 (PPI-OT): A team of Amnesty International, which is currently on an eight-day visit to occupied Kashmir, reiterating that the draconian law, Public Safety Act (PSA) is a lawless law, expressed serious concern over the lack of determination by the authorities to repeal it.
The Amnesty team members, Ms Sunita and Rahilla Narchoor talking to newsmen in Srinagar said, “The authorities can repeal the PSA, which is in force in the territory since 1978, as the jurisdiction to repeal it lies with them.”
They said that the amendments made in the provisions of the PSA were not sufficient and its existence had made the lives of the Kashmiri people more miserable.
The team members said the Amnesty was currently focused on the repeal of PSA even as other issues like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), custodial torture and deaths, enforced disappearances, rapes and discovery of unmarked graves and other forms of human rights violation across the territory also needed to be addressed.
“To detain a person on mere suspicion is a human rights violation and anyone detained thus must be produced before a court of law,” he said, adding that India was a signatory to the treaty for protection of human rights and it was its duty to protect the rights in the country, including in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Supreme Court of India and the Amnesty International both have described the PSA as lawless law. In its report for 2011, the AI used the term of lawless law for the PSA and in 2012 it was a case of ‘continued lawless law.’
The AI is of the view that the law should be revoked which is within the competence of the state government,” they said.
The team members said the authorities had made some amendments in the Act after the release of the AI report for 2011 “because of which several precious lives had been saved, but these were not adequate as the enforcement of the law had left a negative impact on the people’s life. “There is an urgent need to repeal the law,” they maintained.
They advocated unconditional release of all those put behind bars on the basis of certain ideology, opinion and peaceful struggle for freedom, and demanded that all minor detainees should be released immediately. “Those arrested on mere suspicion should be released forthwith while the detainees must be provided adequate medical facilities,” they said.
The team members said action needed to be taken against the officials allegedly involved in custodial torture of jail inmates. They urged the authorities to ensure the protection of human rights of the inmates and not to create hurdles in the way of their members meeting them.
“Detention after release or after the detentions are quashed by the courts has to be avoided,” they said, adding that a comprehensive probe should be undertaken in respect of those still under detention.
The team is likely to meet the puppet Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, his cabinet members and other pro-India politicians besides the Hurriyet leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Gilani, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Shabbir Ahmad Shah.
It will also interact with various human rights organizations and activists, civil society groups and media persons. Soon after its arrival on Tuesday, the team met with the representatives of various sections of the society and victims and sufferers of human rights violations.
For more information, contact:
Kashmir Media Service
Phone: 92-51-4435548, 4435549