To the Chief Minister,
In March 2013, three boys under the age of 18 were detained under the PSA, despite a 2012 amendment to the Act that prohibited the detention of anyone under 18.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir call on you to take immediate steps to stop police abuse by addressing the persistent practice of administrative detentions in Jammu & Kashmir under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
Two of the boys were immediately transferred to a jail in Jammu, where they remain in detention. Their parents were not informed. Family members have a right to know where their loved ones are being held, but the police in J&K regularly transfer individuals to jails far from their homes without informing the families or lawyers.
Under the PSA people are held without charge or trial, for months and sometimes years. This has not changed in essence despite the amendments in 2012.
Another boy, just 15 years old, was first arrested under ordinary criminal law in March 2013. But when a court ordered his release on bail, the police detained him under the PSA. The authorities use repeated detention, called “revolving door detention,” in J&K to circumvent the criminal justice system and keep individuals behind bars.
This situation cannot continue; the PSA directly allows arbitrary detention, and indirectly facilitates torture, ill-treatment and other human rights violations at the hands of police authorities, in breach of India’s human rights obligations. One of the ways to help end these violations is to repeal the PSA once and for all, and stop new legislation that would facilitate further human rights violations by the police.
Until that is done, we stand together with human rights supporters and activists around the world urging you to pick up your pen and issue an ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER directing that:
- Authorities must stop the practice of ‘revolving door detentions’, and not use the PSA to repeatedly detain the same individual on similar grounds;
- PSA detention records maintained by the J&K Ministry of Home Affairs must be publicly accessible, especially to spouses and close family members and legal representatives assigned and agreed by detained persons.
Beyond this, we call on you to use your powers to ensure that no one is detained under the PSA until it is repealed.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir
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