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Centre may write to JK govt for ‘judicious use’ of PSA

The Centre may ask Jammu and Kashmir government for “judicious use” of Public Safety Act, a move that comes in the midst of a controversy over the release of senior separatist leader Masarat Alam.

“We are planning to ask Jammu and Kashmir government for judicious use of Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978,” a Home Ministry official said.

The release of Alam, who had spearheaded the campaign of stone-pelting in the Valley in 2010 and was detained under PSA, from custody a few days ago had triggered a row.

BJP, which shares power with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, had come under attack over Alam’s release.

The three interlocutors, appointed by the government during previous UPA government, had recommended amendment to PSA to dilute its provisions.

The interlocutors in their report while recommending amendment of PSA said that during their meetings, most of the Kashmiri delegations criticised the Act saying it had sweeping powers which make it open to misuse and authorities should stop indiscriminate use of PSA.

“While its use has been considerably reduced now, the Act’s sweeping powers make it open to misuse and should be amended accordingly,” the report said.

The main problems with PSA are under Chapter IV (Power to make orders detaining certain persons), Section 8 (Detention of certain persons), it said.

This section provides a vast number of reasons for detention, ranging from “promoting, propagating, or attempting to create feelings of enmity or hatred or disharmony on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or region” to incitement, instigation, abatement and actual commission of such acts, and leaves it to District Collectors or District Magistrates to decide, giving a twelve-day period within which the government has to approve the detention. The period for approval should be no more than four days, the interlocutors said.

Secondly, PSA does not distinguish between offences when it comes to the detention period. It allows
detention for up to one year for disturbance of public order and two years for actions “prejudicial to the security of the State”, the report said.

No change in stand on Art 370, says RSS

The RSS on Friday said its stance on Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir has not changed, even as it termed as “teething problems” the friction between BJP and PDP in the state stressing that the “novel experiment” should be given time to succeed.  “RSS’s stand on Article 370 has not changed, we will never compromise on it. We want the situation to improve. If the situation does not improve, then we will decide,” RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said at the first day of the three-day conclave of the apex body of the Sangh. 

On BJP’s alliance with PDP hitting a rocky patch in Jammu & Kashmir where the saffron party is in government for the first time, Hosabale said though the Sangh “was not happy” with the occurrences, those were “teething problems”.  He was addressing the media soon after the brainstorming session of ‘Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha’, the highest decision and policy making body of the Sangh, kicked off in Nagpur, the seat of RSS, BJP’s ideological mentor.


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