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412 booked under Public Safety Act since 5 August, says report by Kashmir-based rights group

The report by Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons says six civilians were killed since 5 August.

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has slapped 662 individuals with the Public Safety Act (PSA) this year, out of which 412 were booked under the stringent law after 5 August when the Narendra Modi government revoked Article 370.

This was revealed in a report titled ‘Annual 2019 Human Rights Review’ by the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) that was released Tuesday.

PSA is a law that allows the detention of individuals without trial for up to two years.

The report also states that contrary to the central government’s claims of no ordinary citizen being killed in police firing since 5 August, six “civilian killings” were recorded across Kashmir.

Among the six deaths, the report mentions, is a youth who drowned in a river after being allegedly chased by security forces in Srinagar and three other individuals, including a woman, who died after inhaling either pepper or tear gas used to quell protesters.

The report also states that 80 civilians were killed this year during violence in the state as well as 159 militants and 129 security force personnel deaths. Total encounters this year, it claims, were 87, and 195 cordon and search operations were conducted.

Also read: Kashmir panchayat elections for 12,565 vacant seats get Modi govt approval

662 fresh habeas corpus petitions filed

The central government has been slammed for a large number of detentions and arrests that were made to prevent breach of peace before Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked on 5 August. Political activities have also remained suspended, with leaders of the region’s mainstream parties such as the NCP, PDP and the Congress being in detention.

The report states that there is still no clear statement by the government on the number of people booked under the PSA.

“While the Government of India claimed in Parliament on 20 November that 5,161 persons were detained since 5 August out of whom 609 were under detention…there is no clear statement on how many were booked under PSA,” it reads.

According to the report, 105 PSA cases were filed in Pulwama, followed by 95 in Baramulla and 87 in Srinagar in 2019. While a total of 116 cases were disposed of this year, 102 were scrapped before August and the rest in the last five months.

According to data obtained by the JKCCS and APDP, as many as 662 fresh habeas corpus petitions (challenging detentions under PSA) were registered in 2019, out of which 412 were registered after 5 August.

The numbers were collected, states the report, based on information retrieved by the two bodies during field research and through RTIs filed in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

“We are treating this data cautiously as we anticipate more number of cases, which are
yet to have surfaced either in our data collection or any list produced by the state,” the
report reads.

Also read: He was to be freed, says family of Kashmiri man who died in UP jail under PSA detention

Education, business affected due to internet ban

The report further mentions the impact on education, business and commerce in
the Valley due to the internet ban in Kashmir, that will enter its 150th day Wednesday.

“Prior to the 5 August decision…internet services were blocked a total of 54 times from 1 January to 4 August 4 2019. However, on the intervening night of 4 and 5 August the government enforced the 55th internet shutdown of the year and which to date is the
longest-running internet blackout not just in Kashmir but in the entire world,” the
report states.

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