By DANISH ZARGAR
SRINAGAR, Mar 24: The Amnesty International’s report against the Public Safety Act (PSA) may have created uproar in the assembly but it is yet to make an impression on the hearts and minds of those yearning to see their kin back from the clasps of the “lawless law.”
The strongly worded report of the international human rights organisation seems to have done virtually nothing to belittle the exasperation of the affected families whose children are incarcerated under the act.
“There was a time when the centrally appointed interlocutors met us. They called upon New Delhi for release of youths detained under PSA but nothing happened. If state and New Delhi did not listen to interlocutors what good can the Amnesty international report do?” says Jibran Bashir, brother of jailed Burhan Bashir Bagaw of old city.
Burhan, student of first year under graduation, was booked under PSA around 10 months back. Jibran made relentless efforts to get his brother the permission to sit in the exams during custody late last year. Burhan did get the permission but it was not before he had missed four papers, leaving Jibran with no choice but to plead to the Kashmir University authorities to allow him to take part in the later part of the exam.
Ever since Jibran, himself a second year student, managed to get the PSA of his brother quashed from the high court. But Burhan is not yet released. The worse, Jibran fears a new PSA may be awaiting Burhan.
“The PSA was quashed on March 1 but they have detained him at the Maharaj Gunj police station and I do not see the reason behind this detention,” Jibran said. “Last time I went to see him (Burhan) I saw one of the detainees at the police station, having his first PSA quashed, was booked under a fresh one. I fear they may have similar plans for Burhan as well.”
Declaring PSA an unlawful exercise used by the police as a “parallel and informal criminal justice system” to “detain individuals without trial and any intentions of actually prosecuting them,” the Amnesty –an international human rights organisation—has strongly recommended the repealing of the act. The report also censures the police for its “revolving door detention policy” wherein persons are re-arrested and detained under PSA once they are released is used to keep persons out of circulation.
The report has clearly created some uproar on the floor of the assembly in its ongoing winter session at winter capital Jammu. However, those bearing the brunt of PSA detentions seem to know little about the report.
“I heard about the report from others but I did not see it myself,” said Bashir Ahmad Sofi said, basing his optimism on faith more on logic than the possible results of Amnesty report.
“We are hopeful that my brother will be released because he is innocent,” he said.
Bashir’s younger brother, Muhammad Ashraf Sofi, 35, was booked under PSA last December. A shopkeeper by profession, Ashraf was immediately after the arrest sent to Kathuwa. The family has challenged the detention in the court but the trial is still incomplete.
The family’s worries are in the meanwhile getting bigger and bigger with Ashraf, according to Basher, having lost 25 per cent eye sight in the jail.
“His has turned visually impaired in the jail. The doctors have even ruled out any chances of his recovery. We are really worried but we can only hope that he is released,” Bashir said.
According to Amnesty report, upto 20000 Kashmiris are behind the bars under PSA. Around 322 have been booked during the last unrest.
The centre had also called for release of students booked under the act but it brought little change on ground. The state government, however, promises action this time around while the families lay hopeful.