THIS refers to the report ‘Pakistan unveils dossier on war crimes, rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir’ (Sept 12). The dossier has failed to mention two crucial draconian laws: the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act. The so-called public safety act is a preventive detention law under which a person is taken into custody to prevent him from “acting harmfully” against “the security of the state or the maintenance of the public order” in the occupied Kashmir.
The following provisions of the PSA violate international human rights. Section 8 of the PSA does not define ‘security of the state’, and provides a vague and overbroad understanding of ‘public order’. It grants the authorities sweeping powers.
Section 13 allows the authorities not to communicate grounds of detention for up to five days, which can be extended up to 10 days, of detention. At the same time, sub-section 2 allows the authorities to withhold significant information from the person detained.
Section 15 precludes judicial review. Under section 16, the detenus are not entitled to communicate with and be represented by a counsel of their choice. Section 22 provides a complete bar on criminal, civil or “any other legal proceedings ... against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of the provisions of this Act.”
In January 2018, the occupied Jammu and Kashmir government said only 525 persons had been detained under the PSA in 2016. It was almost half the number quoted by media reports in 2019.
The government also said 201 persons had been booked in 2017, but official data itself showed that 410 individuals had actually been booked.
As for the NIA, it is mercilessly used to declare anyone a traitor by the Indian authorities on the basis of whim and fancy.
Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2021