Srinagar, Jan 31 (IANS) Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Vice President of the National Conference (NC), Omar Abdullah on Thursday said that he will repeal the Public Safety Act (PSA) once voted to power.
Addressing party workers in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, Omar Abdullah said: “I will not say that once voted to power my government will not take recourse to PSA. I will not say that my government would stop misuse of PSA.
“But, once voted to power, I will remove the law from the statute book. I will repeal it within a few days of taking power in the state so that no future government can take recourse to this law,” he asserted.
PSA empowers the administration to detain a person in order to prevent him or her from committing acts considered “prejudicial to security of state or maintenance of public order”.
The state government has been detaining youths and others under the harsh PSA that provides for detention of a person for two years without any judicial process.
The act was brought into effect in 1978 when Omar’s grandfather late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was in power.
His objective in bringing in the law was to prevent timber smuggling that had assumed menacing proportions during the 1960s and 70s.
The first detainee under the act was a timber smuggler from north Kashmir Ganderbal district.
Over the years, various governments in the state used the act against youths involved in militancy and those believed to be disturbing the peace in the state.
It is widely believed that the law has also been used to silence political dissent.