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Amnesty denied permission to hold press briefing in Srinagar

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Srinagar, Jun 12: Authorities on Wednesday refused permission to Amnesty International to hold a briefing on alleged misuse of the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA), which provides for detention of a person up to one year without trial.

An Amnesty spokesperson said the authorities had not given permission to it for holding a press briefing on the subject.

"We have been told that we have been denied official permission to hold the event, citing 'prevailing law and order situation'," the spokesperson said.

Later, the organisation issued a press release on the matter.

"The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) circumvents the criminal justice system in Jammu and Kashmir to undermine accountability, transparency and respect for human rights," the Amnesty International India alleged in the statement.

The human rights NGO claimed it analysed case studies of 210 detainees, who were booked under the PSA between 2012 and 2018.

The Amnesty International India called on the government of Jammu and Kashmir to immediately repeal the J&K Public Safety Act and other legislations facilitating the use of administrative detentions and ensure that all detainees held in administrative detention are released.

Reacting to the Amnesty report, Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam said there is a rule of law in the country.

"The PSA is an Act and there is a judicial system which has checks and balances on the Act. You go and check the records. There are PSAs which are upheld by the courts and there are PSAs which are struck down by the courts.

"So please understand that the entire system is working under checks and balances. When the record is good, the court upholds, when the record is bad, the court strikes down," he said.

The Chief Secretary said sometimes police officers complain that so many PSAs are being struck down by the courts.

"So be it. That's the law of the nation. The strength of this country, the great nation of India is the rule of law. I think it is upheld by the courts and we have great pride in the courts," he added.

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