J&K admin revokes PSA against 26 people

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The Jammu and Kashmir PSA is an Act that allows the government to detain a person without trial for a period of three to six months.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday revoked detention warrants issued under the Public Safety Act (PSA) for 26 individuals from different parts of the Valley.

Of the detainees, 11 hail from Baramulla, followed by Pulwama (seven), Kulgam (three), Anantnag (three) and one each from Shopian and Srinagar districts, according to an official statement.

Sources in the administration told The Indian Express that the move to withdraw PSA against these individuals was done “after a regular review by the competent authority”. They said 11 of the detainees were being held in Kashmir, and 15 were lodged in jails outside the Union Territory.

The revocation of the PSA comes days after a delegation of some former ministers and ex-legislators, mostly from PDP, had called on Lt Governor G C Murmu seeking, among other demands, a compassionate policy for PSA detainees who are citizens of J&K. They had said it would be a great confidence building measure if the cases of these PSA detainees were to be reviewed on compassionate and lenient grounds to facilitate their early release.

Read Also | PSA on more than 600 people in 2019, says J&K rights body

The list of detainees against whom the PSA was revoked Friday includes Nazir Ahmed Ronga (55), the former president of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association. Ronga, who has been under detention since August 5 at Central Jail Muradabad, was detained for being “very vocal against abolishing of Article 370 and 35 A of Constitution of India and also against bifurcation of erstwhile J&K state”.

Charges cited against him also included his leading “many protests marches in this behalf” which, the administration said, “created problems in public order within District Srinagar.Your capacity can be gauged from this fact that you were able to convince your electorate to come out and vote in huge numbers during poll boycotts”. Baramulla District Bar president Abdul Salam Rather is also included in the list.

The Jammu and Kashmir PSA is an Act that allows the government to detain a person without trial for a period of three to six months. The Act was promulgated in 1978 by the Sheikh Abdullah government as an administrative detention aimed to keep the timber smugglers “out of circulation”. However, over the past three-and-a-half decades, the government has frequently used it against its political opponents.

Former chief minister and current Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah has also been detained under the same Act at his Gupkar residence since September 14. He was initially detained for a period of 12 days, which was subsequently increased to three months.