It has been more than two-weeks since Khurram Parvez, a prominent human rights activist was arrested under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act on September 15. Ironically, the campaigner who is programme coordinator at Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and chairperson at Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) has been campaigning against this very piece of legislation which is classified as “unnecessary” and “draconian” by Amnesty International.
Called the “lawless legislation,” the infamous PSA act allows the government to keep him without a charge for a period of six months. He was picked up from his home and was charged with inciting protestors and this comes a day after he was blocked from travelling to Geneva to attend the UN Human Right Council session on September 15.
The outright shocking fact is that after a period of five days the court ordered his release and made it perfectly clear that “procedural violations” were recorded in his arrest and detention, but despite the court’s directive and international outcry, he was booked under the “updated” PSA act (which obviously gives more teeth to the forces).
A colleague of Khurram, Parvez Imroz clearly says that the arrest is made to silence the civil society activists in Kashmir.
“It is because of his work. Khurram has been working on disappearances, on mass graves, on identifying the perpetrators who have committed crimes on humanity here and organizing the human rights work in Kashmir,” Imroz explains.
However he is not the only ‘victim’ of this draconian piece of legislation, as many as 200 people have been arrested in the past one year, out of them 53 still languish in different parts of the country.
Inaam Hussain, a 19-year-old boy was arrested after the police failed to nab the stone pelters and caught him. After months of prison and paying hefty bribes, he is now able to roam around as much as he can in the current atmosphere of Kashmir. Earlier in the month, this act was slapped on a 32-year-old psychiatric patient, Riyaz Ahmad Dar. He has been going through treatment at the Government Psychiatric Diseases Hospital for the last ten years and his medical records describe him as “a known patient of a major depressive disorder from last ten years”.
In Kashmir, officials say, over 3200 stone pelters and trouble makers have been arrested by the police since July. Out of these, around 2500 have been released on bail while over 500 are in police and judicial custody and 250 have been booked under PSA.
Here is the press statement given out by President, Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society after he was arrested-https://www.facebook.com/sheikhkhurramparvez/posts/10154817238368352