South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Geneva, March 3 (KMS): A statement submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council has said that the Indian authorities in occupied Jammu & Kashmir continue to use various forms of arbitrary detention to target protesters, political dissents and other civil society actors.

The written statement was submitted by International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM), a non-governmental organization, during the ongoing forty-third session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. “A number of laws provide the legal basis for arbitrary detention but the one that is used most frequently to stifle political dissent is the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA)”, the statement said. This law, it adds, does not provide for judicial review of detention and the Indian authorities issue successive detention orders thus defeating the Kashmir High Court orders to release a detainee.

Human Rights groups have claimed time and again that minors are being arrested under the PSA. In 2014, the Committee on the Rights of the Child called upon India to review its security related laws with a view to prohibiting criminal and administrative proceedings against persons under the age of 18, the statement said. A right to information application found that over 1,000 people were detained under the PSA between 2016 & August 2017. In July 2018, the Indian authorities amended section 10 of the PSA, removing the prohibition on detaining permanent residents of J&K outside the state. Consequently, at least 40 Kashmiri pro–freedom leaders, charged under the PSA, were transferred to various prisons outside the J&K in 2018.

Among those transferred to the outside J&K prisons include Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Mohammad Yasin Malik, President of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Aasiya Andrabi and Nayeem Ahmad Khan who are languishing in Delhi’s Tihar jail, the UNHRC was informed.

“There are hundreds others who are booked and re-booked and kept in four walls of various prisons across India under the PSA. These include Ms Fahmeeda Sofi, Ms Nahida Nasreen, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Aiyaz Muhammad Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, Shahid-ul-Islam, Mohammad Aslam Wani, Zahoor Watali, Syed Shahid Yousaf Shah and Ghulam Muhammad Butt, all of them detained at Tihar jail.”

Others are held in various jails of J&K and those include – Mian Abdul Qayoom, President, Kashmir Bar Association, Muhammad Ashraf Butt, Secretary General, Kashmir Bar Association, Musarrat Aalam Butt, Showkat Ahmad Bakshi, Noor Mohammad Kalwall and Nazir Ahmad Roonga, Hilal Akbar Lone and Muhammad Ahsan Untoo.


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