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High Court Legitimizes Arbitrary Illegal Detention of Kashmiri Socio-Religious Activist and Scholar

On 10th August, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir upheld the illegal and arbitrary detention of Jamaat-e-Islami chief Abdul Hameed Ganie alias Dr. Hameed Fayaz. Ganie has been booked under the notorious Public Safety Act, and he has been behind bars since 2019.

Ganie has been incarcerated in Kathua jail, which is hundreds of miles away from his home, making it difficult for his family to meet him. The detention order of Ganie was quashed in 2021, however, he was arrested again by India and booked under the Public Safety Act again.

Ganie has been jailed for his advocacy of Kashmir’s UN-mandated right to self-determination, and his condemnation of the human rights violations perpetrated by the Indian military in Kashmir. His organization, Jamaat-e-Islami, has also been banned, under similar pretext.

Under the PSA, India can detain any individual without having to provide grounds for his or her arrest, whilst denying them right to trial and keeping them in detention for up to two years. In many cases, even after the PSA is quashed and the court orders release of the individual, as in the case of Ganie, the authorities simply book the detainee under the PSA again and hence the cycle of arbitrary detention continues.

A report by J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons’ (APDP) said 662 persons were booked under the PSA in 2019 alone. In 2015, when the government revealed that 16,329 persons had been detained under the PSA since 1988. Among these detainees, 95% of the detainees were from Kashmir. The percentage reflects how India has weaponized PSA against Kashmiris for demanding their fundamental rights. In 2008, 366 Kashmiris were booked under it. In year 2009 and 2010, 711 Kashmiris were booked under it for protesting against a gang-rape of two Kashmiri women by Indian military personnel. From 2011 to 2015 more than 734 Kashmiris were detained under the PSA. At least 921 Kashmiris were jailed under the PSA after 2016, when India killed a popular Kashmiri pro-freedom commander. In 2017, 410 Kashmiris were jailed under the PSA, while the detention went up to 510 in 2018.

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