Saturday, August 8, 2009

In Kashmir, Govt Runs State Through Long Arms of PSA

 NASEER A GANAI

Srinagar, Aug 7: The State Government today refused to accept an amendment in the Public Safety Act and justified the law saying “it is for running the state.” The Government said there were enough guarantees under the Act to safeguard the rights of detainees.
The Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ali Muhammad Sagar, while speaking on the bill moved by PDP’s Basharat Bukhari to bring an amendment in the Act, said the law has been enacted to “run the State.” The Minister challenged the PDP members saying they should not become the votary of human rights after being out of power. “You were also in the Government why didn’t you bring such changes,” he asked. The Minister told the members not to play politics by exaggerating the figures under the PSA. He said it was wrong to state that 20,000 people have been booked under the Act since 1990.
Earlier, while moving the private member’s bill, Bukhari described Public Safety Act as the most misused law in
Jammu and Kashmir. He said though under law an individual could be booked only for two years, detainees have been detained for even 14 years under this law. He said a democratic setup couldn’t afford to have such a law. He said the bill was introduced to seek amendment in Section 10-A to provide that an order of detention can be deemed invalid if the grounds are vague, irrelevant or non-existent. The bill also sought a definite term for the members of the advisory board constituted under the PSA.
The Government also opposed the private member’s bill introduced by Chowdhary Zulfikar Ali of PDP to amend the
Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act, 1997, to make the recommendations of the State Human Rights Commission mandatory for the Government.
MLA from Darhal Rajouri, Zulfikar said the plight of a father prompted him to introduce the bill. Chowdary said it took the father five years to seek justice from the SHRC and now for last four years he was moving from pillar to post in the civil secretariat seeking implementation of the recommendations. But, Zulfikar said, the father was told that SHRC judgments carry no weight. He said a High Court judge heads the Commission and it pronounces the judgment after hearing all sides like courts. “Then why like courts their judgments are not binding on the Government?” he asked.
While opposing the bill, Sagar said the SHRC recommendations were not binding and they were only recommendatory in nature “like every State of India.” He said the Government was aware about the issue of human rights and it was Farooq Abdullah Government which established the SHRC.
He, however, said the Commission could only present reports and it was up to the Government whether to accept them or not. He said if any member had any specific issue he could approach the CM. Sagar launched scathing attack on the PDP saying most human rights violations took place during the PDP-led Government in 2003-2004. He said massive violation of human rights prompted the then SHRC chairman, Justice AM Mir to resign. He said amendment in the law, as proposed in the bill, was not possible.
Not satisfied with the answer, Chowdary Zulfikar pressed the bill for voting and then walked out in protest when it was rejected by the treasury benches with voice vote.

HIGHLIGHTS
 NC’s Nazir Gurezi in LA: “MLAs have no alternative other than to indulge in theft if their salary is not increased.” While introducing his bill to increase salary of MLAs, he said the meager salary forces them to use underhand means to maintain their standard.

 Mehbooba Mufti to LA Speaker, Muhammad Akbar Lone: “You have no manners, and avoid this habit of pointing fingers towards a lady.”

 PDP’s Moulvi Iftikhar Ansari to BJP’s Ashok Khajuria: “I know you and your politics. Don’t intervene when I am speaking.”

 Sagar to Panthers Party’s Harsh Dev Singh: “You are an able speaker and I admire your speech. Dr. Sahib (Dr. Farooq Abdullah) always says bring Harsh Dev to this side and we will make him minister.” Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone too stepped in by saying, “Offer is still open.” Harsh Dev just laughed over the overtures.

 Mir Saifullah of NC: “If Kupwara roads are not repaired, I will stand on the bench and play the role of opposition.” On this, Harsh Dev Singh quipped, “Welcome to opposition.”

 

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