Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik was detained under the harsh Public Safety Act (PSA) on Thursday and shifted to a jail outside the Valley. Police sources said Malik was shifted to Kot Balwal Jail in Jammu district. Anybody detained under the PSA can be held for a maximum of two years without any judicial intervention.
The PSA was enacted in the state in 1978 and was originally used against timber smugglers. In fact, the law details that the activities of timber smugglers can invoke their detention under the act. Over the passage of time, the law has been increasing used against separatist politicians, militants and political rivals.
According to the 2010 report of human rights watchdog Amnesty International, at least 10,000 to 20,000 people have been detained under this preventive law in JK since it was enacted more than four decades ago. Over 800 warrants under the PSA were issued during the 2016 unrest that followed the killing of Hizbul poster boy Burhan Wani in a gunfight with the security forces in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
A typical example of the PSA being used to avoid judicial scrutiny of detentions has been the arrest of hardline separatist leader Masrat Alam who continues to be incarcerated although the state high court has quashed his detention order 32 times. Some of the recently detained senior leaders of the local Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) have also been booked under the PSA and shifted to jails outside the Valley. Official sources told IANS that at present, less than 100 people are detained under the PSA in the state.