Srinagar: Amnesty International on Monday
demanded repeal of Public Safety Act(PSA) in Jammu and
Kashmir, alleging it had been used as a "revolving door" to
detain up to 20,000 people without trial since the start of
militancy two decades ago.
The Human Rights watchdog said PSA detentions were
being used by authorities in J amd K as a "punitive" measure
in cases where they cannot or would not be able to convict
the detained person in the criminal court of justice.
"The PSA is being used to disable the first and second
tiers of the pro-independence leadership in Kashmir, taking
them out of circulation. It is also being used to detain
minors in some cases," Amnesty`s Campaigner for India-Asia
Pacific programme Bikramjeet Batra alleged at a news
conference while releasing a report on use of PSA in J and K
He said according to the data collected by the Amnesty
during its research, 8,000 to 20,000 persons have been
detained under PSA over the past 20 years.
"We have studied 600 cases of PSA detentions and found
that in most of the cases, the persons have been detained for
their activities being prejudicial to the security of the
state or for maintaining public order," Batra said.
Under the Public Safety Act, a person can be taken
into preventive custody for two years without charge or trial
if he or she is deemed a threat to the state.
He said while the activities prejudicial to the
security of the state have not been defined in the act, the
definition for maintaining public order was so wide that
"anyone can be detained under the PSA".
"It is being used as a parallel or informal criminal
justice system," he alleged.
The report also called upon the Union government and
the J and K government to carry out "independent, impartial
and comprehensive" investigation into allegations of torture
against the detainees and abuse and make the findings public.
Asked about Amnesty`s stand on the controversial Armed
Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Batra said the human rights
body`s stand on it was very clear that it needs to be repealed
both in J&K and North East.
"We have been demanding the repeal of AFSPA since 2005
both in the context of both Jammu and Kashmir and North East,"