National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Thursday announced he will revoke the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act or PSA if his party returns to power. Under PSA, anybody can be arrested and jailed without a trial.
Addressing a party meeting in Pulwama, one of worst terrorism-hit areas in Kashmir, Mr Abdullah said he will repeal the act as soon as they form the Government in the state.
"I give this assurance to the people of Jammu and Kashmir that the day National Conference forms its government, inshallah in 2019, I will revoke Public Safety Act within few days of taking over. It will be thrown out of law books," he said amid applause from supporters.
Omar Abdullah said it would have been easier for him to say that no one will be booked under PSA when he's in power. "But that's not the answer. PSA has to be removed from the papers. It has to go so that no innocent youth is booked under it once again," he said.
Amnesty International has termed the PSA as lawless law which authorises police to keep people in jail without a trial. During his tenure as Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah had made amendments to the Act. The detention period under PSA was reduced to six months from two years.
Human rights groups say it is the first time when revoking PSA has been made a poll plank by any political party. In last three years, more than 1,600 people were jailed under PSA.
"Under PSA, it is a revolving door policy. Every time High Court quashes the PSA of a person, the police immediately slaps a fresh PSA so that he never comes out of the jail without any trial," said Khurram Parvez, human rights activist. He said separatist leader Masarat Alam has been jailed for 23 years under PSA.
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