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India Jails a Kashmiri Political Activist Under the Draconian Public Safety Act

On 14th July, India booked a member of pro-freedom socio-political organization, Hurriyat Conference, under lawless Public Safety Act (PSA) in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

Ameer Hamza was accused by the Jammu and Kashmir police of being involved in “anti-national” activities, a juridical category that state deploys to criminalize any and all calls for Kashmir’s right to self-determination. Any assertion of the rights of Kashmiris is presented by India as a “threat” to its “national sovereignty” and “territorial integrity”.

For example, in the past, Kashmiris have been detained for months after being accused of engaging in “anti-national” activities, when in fact all they had done was supported the Pakistani cricket team in a game of sports. This support was presented as seditious and the accused were jailed under the anti-terrorism Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

The FIR does not mention at all as to what activities exactly were being undertaken by Ameer Hamza, nor has the family of the detainee been informed about the grounds of his arrest. This is not surprising as the PSA allows India to jail any Kashmiri for up to two years without being required to provide the grounds of his arrest. The PSA also denies the Kashmiri detained under PSA the right to a trial.

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