BACKGROUND One of the most draconian laws applicable in Jammu and Kashmir, Public Safety Act (PSA), that is being liberally used as a repressive measure to scuttle any dissent, often also for victimising innocent youth, ironically finds its roots in the Defence of India Act (DIA) during the British rule. After independence, Defense of India Act changed nomenclature in the year 1967 and is presently known as Public Safety Act, more precisely in Jammu and Kashmir as Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act-1978 with provisions and impunity almost similar to the act of British era. In fact, the PSA happens to be a more punitive form of the DIA that was described by various National leaders including Mahatma Gandhi as draconian and a black law enacted by Britishers to suppress Indian freedom struggle.
View of Legal Experts Legal experts say that PSA, which operates in Jammu and Kashmir, differs from the act operating in rest of the country. They maintain that Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act-1978 (JKPSA-1978) was amended in the year 1990 which made it possible for extending the operation of the act beyond the State, enabling the State machinery to keep detainees in the jails of India, outside the State. They over that this provision is strictly meant for Jammu and Kashmir. Experts opine that state government can recommend review of Public Safety Act but the same has never been done. They add that respective governments since 1978 have used the law to their fullest advantage but have never sought a review of this act.
Amnesty International Reports of Amnesty International (AI) and other human rights organizations suggest that people detained under the PSA also run a high risk of being tortured, as many are denied access to family or lawyers for long periods. These reports also indicate that torture is widely used in police stations and interrogation centers in Jammu and Kashmir to extract confessions or information, to humiliate or punish detainees, leading to dozens of reported deaths in custody. Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to immediately and unconditionally release the all the political prisoners held under PSA. A senior counsel from Jammu said that security concerns in Jammu and Kashmir are obviously a top priority for the government A report of Amnesty international maintains that in February 1998, a political activist Ghulam Ahmad Dar was given electric shocks, had wooden rollers rolled over his
Role of Advisory Board For PSA The Advisory board is headed by a sitting or former judge of high court .The advisory board examines the case only once in the initial stages of detention .There is no process of appeal against the decision of the advisory board . Section 16 allows Advisory board to produce report within 4 weeks to government. Govt is bound to release a detainee if the Board finds no sufficient cause for detention. Amnesty international was informed that in many cases detainees refuse to file representation before Advisory Board as they see no hope of proper hearing . The board is an Eye wash. Out of 100 cases may be one or two cases they may recommend revocation of detention order.
Violation in PSA Detention Regime Lack of information and access to family: family members are mostly required to act as conduits between detainees and lawyers . Bad treatment & conditions in prisons: The poor conditions of detainees are a clear attempt to degrade the detainees and to add to their punishment with the hope of eventually breaking them.
Condition of Detainees in J&K Prisons The condition of detainees in prisons are reportedly poor, although they are believed to improve since the Govt of India and ICRC signed memorandum of understanding ( MOU) in 1995 allowing the ICRC to monitor the conditions in prisons within state. As Per MOU the ICRC can meet with any persons detained or arrested by authorities in relations with the situation prevailing in J& K . In practice , the ICRC can interview detainees in private and also assist in restoring links between detainees and their family members.
‘Rotten’ justice system in J&K big blow for juveniles. The (ACHR) group blames a "rotten" juvenile justice system in the state under which girls are put in prisons and lock-ups because there is no juvenile home for them.
ACHR(ASIAN CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS)-> The governmentOF PSA IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR REPORT of Jammu & Kashmir has been illegally detaining minorsunder the Public Safety Act, 1978, which provides for up to two years ofpreventive detention. A large, yet unknown, number of children have beendetained is no Juvenile Justice Board and Child Welfare Committee in Jammu ->There under the PSAand Kashmir, and minors are tried in normal courts, sometimes as adults, incontravention with India’s national laws and international obligations.->Children in conflict with the law in J&K do not get the benefit of the Centrallaw i.e. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. Under the1997 J&K Juvenile Justice Act, those who are over 16 years are not regardedas juveniles-> Across India, school certificates are used to determine the age of a juvenile.This is not the practice in J&K. The J&K Police in all cases argue that thosedetained are adults. Until their age is medically assessed or ruled by the Judge,juveniles are assumed to be adults and are detained in adult detention facilitiesplacing them at very high risk of abuse in clear violation of national laws andinternational human rights standards->Even if age can be determined, the lack of juvenile facilities such as juvenilehomes means that detained delinquents are routinely detained in police lock-ups or in prisons with adults.
Jan. 1989 to Nov. 30, 2011Total Killings * 93,712 November 2011Custodial Killings 6,989 Total Killings * 4Civilians Arrested 119,727 Custodial Killings 1 Tortured/Critically 68Structures Arsoned/Destroyed 105,936 Injured Civilians 95 ArrestedWomen Widowed 22,762 Structures 1 Arsoned/Destroyed Disappeared 0Children Orphaned 107,434 Women Widowed 0 Children Orphaned 0Women gang-raped / Molested 10,019 Women gang-raped / 2 Molested