The government of Jammu and Kashmir has taken over 7300 people under preventive custody since August 2019. The information was provided by Gangapuram Kishan Reddy, Minister of State for Home Affairs in response to a query raised by Sardar Sukhdev Singh, Rajya Sabha from Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali).

The response read that in total 7357 people have been put under preventive custody since the abrogation of article 370 which gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Omar Abdullah
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah with a doctorANI

These detentions are made ''in order to prevent the commission of offences involving breach and tranquillity, activities prejudicial to the security of the state and maintenance of public order'', the response read. As per the government's reply, people taken into custody include stone pelters, miscreants, overground workers, separatists.

Around 400 detained under Public Safety Act

Public Safety Act
Response by MoS, Home G Krishna Reddy

It was further informed that of 7357 persons taken into custody, 451 have been put under preventive detention including 396 persons under Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA). The government has invoked Section 107 of CrPC and J&K PSA, 1978 for detention.

On February 6, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti including former IAS officer Shah Faesal was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah
National Conference (NC) leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah at Parliament, in New Delhi on June 25, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

Under this law, an individual can be detained for up to two years without any charge, trial or a warrant. The law has often been referred to as a "draconian" due to major issues that curtail the freedom of an individual.

For instance, PSA does not provide for a judicial review of detention. Over the years, the governments have issued successive detention orders to checkmate the J&K High Court orders for release of persons detained under the act.

In past, PSA has been used against human rights activists, journalists, separatists and others who are considered as a threat to the law & order which clearly shows that the right to dissent is being constantly targeted by these acts.