Srinagar: Authorities refused permission to Amnesty International to hold a press briefing in Srinagar on Wednesday on misuse of the Public Safety Act (PSA) in Jammu & Kashmir. An Amnesty spokesperson said that the authorities had not given permission for holding a press briefing on the subject.
“We have been told that we have been denied official permission to hold the event, citing ‘prevailing law and order situation’,” the spokesperson said. Later, the organisation issued a press release on the matter. “The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) circumvents the criminal justice system in Jammu and Kashmir to undermine accountability, transparency and respect for human rights,” Amnesty International India said in its press statement. It said that it had analysed case studies of 210 detainees booked under PSA between 2012 and 2018.
It called on the government of Jammu and Kashmir to immediately repeal the J&K Public Safety Act and other legislations that facilitate the use of administrative detentions, and ensure that all detainees held in administrative detention were released. Reacting to Amnesty’s report, J&K Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said that there was rule of law in the country.
“The PSA is an Act and there is a judicial system which has checks and balances on the Act. You go and check the records. There are PSAs which are upheld by the courts and there are PSAs which are struck down by the courts,” he said. “So, please understand that the entire system is working under checks and balances. When the record is good, the court upholds; when the record is bad, the court strikes down,” he said.
The chief secretary said that sometimes police officers complain that too many PSAs were being struck down by the courts. “So be it. That’s the law of the nation. The strength of this country, the great nation of India, is the rule of law. I think it is upheld by the courts and we have great pride in the courts,” he said. —PTI