JAMMU: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Friday said the police should consider using Public Safety Act against “chronic drug peddlers” to eradicate the problem of drug abuse in Jammu province.
Chairing a meeting with the DSPs and range deputy inspector general (DIGs) of Jammu province , Mehbooba also suggested setting up of de-addiction centres for the rehabilitation of drug-affected youth.
“Mehbooba Mufti specifically sought feedback on drug abuse in Poonch, Rajouri, Jammu and other districts where the prevalence of the menace has been reported considerably. She directed constitution of specialised teams in every district to track down the menace,” an official spokesman said.
“Earlier, Director General of Police, S P Vaid briefed Mehbooba about the situation in the border areas, law and order, crime and drug abuse in the Jammu province. He said in eight months police , on the directions of the Chief Minister, had confiscated 40 kgs of heroin, 580 kgs of charas, 142 kgs of ganja and 60 thousand capsules of different kinds from various areas of the province,” the spokesman said.
Mehbooba directed the district superintendent of police (DSP) to ensure that no individual, community or group of people are harassed during any investigation or performance of routine law and order duties, particularly in the cases of bovine smuggling or cow vigilantism, the spokesman said.
PSA: A ‘LAWLESS LAW USED TO CURB POLITICAL DISSENT IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR’
The PSA was first promulgated in 1978 by the Sheikh Abdullah government as an administrative detention aimed at keeping timber smugglers “out of circulation.” It allows preventive detention for people against whom there may be no recognised criminal offence, providing for detention for a maximum of two years in the case of persons acting in any manner “prejudicial to the security of the state”. It further allows for administrative detention of up to one year for “any person acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
Rights groups including Amnesty International , which described PSA as a “lawless law” in its 2010 report, say that it is used as tool by the authorities to curb political dissent in Jammu and Kashmir.
Besides detaining protestors and alleged stone-pelters, the PSA has been used by authorities for incarcerating several pro-freedom leaders .
The Amnesty report said that these detentions suggested the PSA was being used to “disable the first and second tiers of the leadership of the major pro-independence political parties and thereby preventing people’s mobilization.”
Samuel Verghese, financial commissioner (home) Jammu and Kashmir, said as much when he told Amnesty in 2010, “We have to keep some people out of circulation.”
“The PSA has been used to detain both those against whom there are specific allegations of involvement in armed violence as well as those against whom the allegations do not relate directly to violence. Many individuals may be detained after being labelled as “anti-national” solely because they support the cause for Kashmiri “azaadi” and because they are challenging the state through political action or peaceful dissent. Such cases could involve individuals detained solely because of their peaceful exercise of their human rights – individuals that Amnesty International would consider prisoners of conscience” – Amnesty International