India Insight

Amnesty says hundreds detained in Kashmir without charge or trial

Amnesty International has accused the government of detaining hundreds of people each year in Kashmir without charge or trial under a “draconian” Indian law.

Amnesty says hundreds detained in Kashmir without charge or trialThe rights group said India’s Public Safety Act (PSA)  had been used to detain up to 20,000 people without trial over the past two decades. Public Safety Act allows for detention without trial for up to two years.

Tens of thousands have died in the disputed region, which India and Pakistan claim in full but rule in parts, since a revolt against New Delhi’s broke out in 1989.

“The Jammu and Kashmir authorities are using PSA detentions as a revolving door to keep people they can’t or won’t convict through proper legal channels locked up and out of the way,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

Here’s the Amnesty International report released in Srinagar on Monday.

Earlier in January, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, also called for reforms including the repeal of laws giving security forces wide powers of arrest across Kashmir.

Amnesty International on rare visit to Kashmir

Amnesty International member Ramesh Gopal Krishan meets Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman of Kashmir's All Parties Hurriyat Conference, before a meeting in Srinagar May 18, 2010. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

New Delhi has allowed a team from rights watchdog Amnesty International to visit strife-torn Kashmir for the first time since an armed rebellion against Indian rule broke out over two decades ago.

The two-member team arrived earlier this week to assess the human rights situation in the region where officials say more than 47,000 people have been killed since 1989.

Local human rights groups put the toll at about 60,000 dead or missing.

Amnesty International has in the past reported on human rights violations in the disputed Himalayan region and accused both government forces and separatist rebels of abuses against
the people of Kashmir.

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