SRINAGAR: Hundreds of Kashmiris arrested since the armed uprising in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are detained for protracted period without trial by government agencies, disregarding the court orders quashing their detention under the infamous Public Safety Act. Advocate Mir Shafqat Hussain who is counselling on behalf of about 200 detainees languishing in different jails in and outside the state told Rising Kashmir that court orders undoing their detention are thrown to winds by the executive.
The courts annul the detention of activists under PSA, but they are never released. “As soon as court order reaches the prison, another PSA is put in to force,” Shafqat said. Citing the instance of Muhammed Imran Khan of Peshawar Pakistan detained at Srinagar in 2003 for his alleged involvement in a suicide attack in Srinagar is languishing in jail without trial for the past five years.
Despite being charged under 302, 307 of RPC and 7/25 and 7/27 of Arms Act, a PSA was slapped on him and was shifted to Jodhpur jail. Although the PSA was quashed by J&K High Court, the jailers slapped fresh PSA against the detainee. “His detention under the Act and its cancellation followed with imposition of fresh Act continues and currently fourth PSA is under challenge in the J&K High court,” Shafqat said.
Another person, a local engineer, alleged to be involved in the case is also suffering because of the delay of the trial in Imran’s case, the lawyer said. “The helplessness of our courts can be appraised from the fact that it took us four years to get Imran to Srinagar from Jodhpur,” he said. The affliction of sending the detainees to outside jails has risen after the amendment in the section 10B of the Act where by the accused can be shifted to jails outside the state of J&K.
However, the Supreme Court in October 2007 passed an order calling for shifting to J&K all the Pakistani nationals nabbed in the state but lodged in jails across India. “Justice B N Agarwal and Justice P P Naolekar directed the government to shift all the under trials facing court cases to the state, and observed that the respective courts must complete the trial of such detainees within nine months.
The order came in the wake of a Public Interest Litigation filed by Panthers Party chief, Prof Bhim Singh arguing that the detainees are deprived of access to trial by their detention outside J&K. The court concurred with his plea that it amounted to illegal detention of these human beings shattering the very concept of personal liberty and rule of law. However, charges are yet to be framed against Imran and the case is pending for argument for the past five years.-SANA