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Repeal Public Safety Act, asks Amnesty

Srinagar: The human rights watch dog, Amnesty International (AI), has asked Government of India (GOI) to repeal the Public Safety Act (PSA) and ensure and safeguard human rights in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

“AI urge government to repeal PSA and any other legislation facilitating use of administrative detentions, abolish system of administrative detentions and either release or charge persons accused of committing criminal acts for recognizably criminal offences and try them in regular court with all safeguards provided and implement court rulings ordering release of detainees without delay”, says Vikram Jeet Batra, AI representative on March 21 while releasing the 82-page report ‘A lawless law: Detentions under J&K PSA’ during a press conference in Srinagar.

The international human rights body has asked GOI to carry out an independent, impartial and comprehensive investigation into allegations of abuse against detainees and their families, including allegation of torture and ill-treatment, denial of visits and medical care.

The report urges the government to invite and support visits of UN officials including Special Rapporteur on Torture and Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. It asks state government to update Juvenile Act in the state. “The same would settle the dust vis-à-vis detention of minors on pretext of waging a war against state”, says Batra, who along with Madhu Malhotra, south Asia Director, AI released the report.

Batra says 322 persons have been reportedly booked under PSA last year and alleged 8,000-20,000 persons have been booked under PSA in the state over past two decades. “People are being rearrested even after High Court quashes their detention. In 55 cases, people have been booked on mere confessions whereas in 77 cases there are no grounds of detention. Government should put in place a centralized register that would contain details about detainees and their profile”.

The report has studied 600 cases of armed detentions in which it came to fore that grounds of detention were ‘insufficient and unrelated with the person’s arrest. It also castigates India of violating international law of torture and detentions’.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 April 2011 on page no. 15

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