August 2016 News

Govt Gets Cracking, Detains 109 Under PSA

30 August 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Samaan Lateef

Srinagar: To contain the ongoing violence, the state government has detained 109 persons under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and 121 more are likely to be booked under the Act in the coming days for being a threat to the security of state and public order. Officials said over 230 dossiers had been prepared for booking people under the PSA to thwart protests following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani's by security forces in Anantnag district on July 8. 'We have clear directions to detain all those people against whom charges of disturbing public order or threatening the security of the state are established. So far, 109 PSA dossiers out of 230 have been executed,' an official in the Home department said. He said the highest number of people booked under the PSA belonged to Baramulla district in north Kashmir, where 30 people mostly associated with Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference had been detained. One of the detainees is a 75-year-old, identified as Sheikh Mohammad Yousuf of Sopore town, who is affiliated with the hardline Hurriyat Conference. Yousuf is the father of Sheikh Altaf, killed by unknown gunmen last year when a little-known militant outfit Lashkar-e-Islam killed several civilians and separatists. Sheikh's other son Dr Sheikh Rouf was killed on December 25, 2000, after a suicide bomber, a British citizen of Pakistani descent, blew himself up outside the Army's Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar. 'You motivate and instigate youth of Sopore town for creating law and order problems, thereby disturbing peace of the area-state. You are an active member of the Hurriyat (G) and your activities are highly prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and warrant immediate preventive measures to be taken against you,' read the detention order against Yousuf, who has been lodged at Kupwara Jail. For the past several years, the PSA has come under sharp criticism from human rights bodies as it enables the state to detain anyone up to two years without a trial. Under the PSA, the government can detain a person involved in disturbing public order for three months and for six months, if proved to be a threat to the security of the state. However, in both cases, the government has kept a provision for revision and the detention period can be extended up to one year and two years, respectively. 'The pending cases are at the pre-execution stage and are awaiting clearance from the District Magistrates and the Home department,' a police officer said. Meanwhile, officials are tight-lipped over the issue. Despite repeated attempts, Home secretary RK Goyal was not available for comment.