J&K

PSA being misused by authorities: Amnesty

Srinagar: Amnesty International India Wednesday said that the Public Safety Act (PSA) is being ‘misused’ by the authorities to detain people without trail.

The human rights group said that the state government has failed to frame any rules or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed by the concerned authorities.

Amnesty said this in a report titled, “Tyranny of a ‘lawless law’’’ which was released on its website on Wednesday.

“The text of the PSA itself violates international human rights law and standards, but even the limited safeguards provided within the law are routinely ignored, and the law misused, by executive detaining authorities and the J&K police,” the report said.

It added that the PSA authorizes district magistrates and divisional commissioners – both executive positions – to pass orders of detention on the basis of information provided by the police.

“An order of administrative detention under the PSA is a purely executive exercise of power, and falls outside the ordinary criminal justice rocess,” it said.

Amnesty said under the law the authorities detain the minor children, aged people and disabled persons. The report however also states that none of the cases studied involved women detainees.

“Women in Jammu and Kashmir do continue to face other kinds of human right violations,” Amnesty said.

“Amnesty International India analyzed 210 case studies of people who had been detained under the PSA between 2012 and 2018,” the report reads.

It further states that each case study included several government and legal documents such as detention orders, police “dossiers” detailing the allegations against the individuals, habeas corpus petitions and High Court orders.

“In some cases people have been detained multiple times under different detention orders, most of which have been challenged and quashed by courts,” the report added.

Among the case studies, Amnesty said that one was that of Rayees Ahmad Mir, a teenager arrested in Baramulla.

“On 16 September 2016, Rayees Ahmad Mir, then 16 years old, was arrested in Baramulla under ordinary criminal procedure for allegedly throwing stones at security forces. Two days later, he was ordered to be detained under the PSA, and transferred to Kot Balwal jail, where he was held with adult prisoners,” reads the report.

The report further reveals that “the detention order stated that he was 18 years old, and that he was being detained as there is every likelihood of Mir being admitted to bail.”

Amnesty said that Mir’s family challenged the order before the J&K High Court, producing a school certificate to show that he was 16.

“In October 2016, the Court stated that Mir should be treated according to juvenile justice rules, as there was prima face evidence that he was a minor, and ordered his transfer to a juvenile home,” it reads.

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