Jammu and Kashmir leader urges Amit Shah to release Kashmiri detainees
New Delhi, March 23 In the backdrop of COVID-19 outbreak, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader Hasnain Masoodi on Monday requested Union Home Minister Amit Shah to direct revocation of detention orders against all the detainees lodged within and outside Jammu and Kashmir.
The former Jammu and Kashmir High Court judge in a letter to the Home Minister said that the detainees are detained without charge and trial on a mere suspicion under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and are lodged in Ambedkar Nagar, Agra, Tihar and other jails outside Jammu and Kashmir.
Citing the lockdown and restrictions imposed on travel and traffic to combat the COVID-19 crisis, Masoodi said it would make it impossible for the relatives to visit the detainees. And, resultantly they would be exposed to immense psychological distress and their valuable constitutional right defeated, Masoodi said.
"This apart, the detention as universally accepted, because of overcrowding is in conflict with social distancing a key response to COVID-19 crises. The detainees, otherwise held without charge or trial, against said backdrop, deserve to be released and the detention orders revoked," the Lok Sabha MP said.
"I would, therefore, request you to direct revocation of detention orders against all the detainees lodged within and outside J&K and pending such revocation request you to direct immediate shifting of all the detainees lodged outside J&K back to J&K forthwith."
Masoodi's request came a day after the government decided to lockdown 80 districts across 22 states and Union Territories in India where only essential services would be allowed in the backdrop of spread of COVID-19 which has claimed seven lives and 384 confirmed cases in the country. The MP further said that many detainees, who have been detained without charges and trial on mere suspicion, were later found to be misplaced.
There are numerous judicial pronouncements commanding the government to lodge the detenue in a jail near home so that the relatives and friends visit the him, and the detenue due to lack of social interaction, is not exposed to mental trauma, he said. In the case of the detainees lodged in jails outside Jammu and Kashmir, the MP said the direction is being observed in breach.
"It needs no emphasis that a detenue is not denuded of all his rights at the prison gate", but continues to have available a number of rights, including the right to have interviews with friends and relatives after reasonable intervals."