J-K bar president’s plea for release dismissed, detention under PSA extended
Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday dismissed the petition of jailed bar association’s ailing president Mian Qayoom challenging his detention under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
Qayoom’s detention under PSA, which would have ended on Friday, has already been extended by another three months eliciting strong condemnation from the bar association.
“Justice Tashi Rabastan has dismissed the petition which had challenged the detention of Qayoom in August. There has been no relief,” said his counsel Zafar Shah.
“Before the dismissal, the government had already extended his detention by another three months. So, it will be Mian Qayoom’s third spell of incarceration,” he said.
Qayoom is a well-known lawyer in Kashmir and has headed the bar association multiple times, latest since 2018. He is lodged in Delhi Tihar Jail.
He senior lawyer had complained of chest pain last week and had to be taken to a hospital.
His nephew, Mian Muzaffar, said he was handed over another PSA order on Wednesday, which was dated February 3.
“It is unfortunate that the petition was dismissed. His health condition is very grave. We don’t think he will survive another three months in jail,” Muzaffar said.
The high court had on Monday reserved its judgment on the petition against the detention of Qayoom after hearing arguments from both the sides.
A person can be put in jail without trial from three months to two years under PSA.
Qayoom was detained from his house in Srinagar late on August 4, ahead of the abrogation of Article 370. He was later booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) on August 8 for three months and shifted to a jail in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra.
His detention was then extended by another three months in November.
The bar association, in a meeting on Thursday, had strongly condemned the government action. It also decried Qayoom’s failing health and sought his immediate release.
“The bar association reiterates and strongly expresses its serious concern about the deteriorating health of its president Mian Abdul Qayoom and again impressed upon the concerned authorities to revoke the illegal and unconstitutional detention order and its extension unconditionally, forthwith,” the association’s joint secretary, Adil Asimi, said.
“The bar association also impresses upon the authorities to revoke the illegal and unwarranted detention order of its general secretary Mr Mohammad Ashraf Bhat, who has been under detention along with others since the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state into two UTs,” he said.
Qayoom’s family says he has been suffering from multiple ailments, including diabetes and heart problems.
“He has only one kidney. He is hypertensive and needs regular checkup and medicines. Before his arrest, doctors had advised an open heart surgery which we have not been able to plan due to his incarceration,” Mian Muzaffar had said last week.
Four mainstream politicians, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were booked under PSA after their six months of preventive detention ended.