An Unpublicized War- A Critical Analysis of the Public Safety Act and its aftermath on the Detainees of Jammu and Kashmir

An Unpublicized War- A Critical Analysis of the Public Safety Act and its aftermath on the Detainees of Jammu and Kashmir

Ruchika Bhaskar & Juhi Srivastava
Army Institute of Law, Mohali

The eminence of the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been politically controversial for decades. Since 1989, there has been a turbulent political movement in the Kashmir Valley for self-determination and independence, alongside a conflict between state forces and armed separatist groups, in which both sides have committed acts of violence against civilians. The state police and security forces are permitted to use broad powers under laws such as the PSA and Armed Forces Special Powers Act to maintain “public order” or the “security of the state”. The author, acknowledges the right, indeed the duty of the state to defend and protect its population from violence. However, this must be done while respecting the human rights of all concerned. There are accounts of prisoners languishing behind bars for several years awaiting their day in court are not uncommon. Many prisons are between 100% and 200% over capacity, where milieus are squalid and the weaker inmates face serious physical harm among other anguishes. In this study, we examine the current state of the Criminal Justice System prevalent in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and its treatment and causes towards its detainees. Furthermore, we examine one of the most draconian laws applicable in Jammu and Kashmir, Public Safety Act that is being liberally used as a repressive measure to scuttle any dissent, often also victimizing innocent youth. The practice of this Act proves to be a contravention of the prevalent human rights. This paper is an attempt to recognize that delay in process is denial of justice.

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