Yasin Malik booked in PSA case amid Valley crackdown, shifted to Jammu
Yasin Malik, chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), was booked under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) and shifted to a jail in Jammu, prompting a separatist call for a general strike in the Valley on Friday.
Malik was arrested on February 22 as part of the administration’s crackdown on separatist leaders following the February 14 attack on a bus carrying Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) that killed at least 40 troopers.
He was kept at the Kothibagh police station in Srinagar, and informed by the police on Wednesday evening that he was being shifted to Jammu’s Kotbalwal jail.
A JKLF spokesperson confirmed that Malik was booked under PSA, which allows detainees to be held for up to two years without judicial intervention. This is not the first time Malik has been booked under the law. In 2008, Malik was booked under PSA and was taken out of the Valley during assembly elections. “We condemn this arbitrary arrest and use of PSA against a political leader,’’ the spokesperson said.
Over the last three weeks, the administration has arrested at least 500 separatist leaders and activists and banned the Jammu and Kashmir chapter of the Jamaat- e-Islami for allegedly taking part in activities “prejudicial to internal security and public order”.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference, criticised the government action on Malik.
“Strongly condemn slapping of draconian PSA and shifting to #KotBalwalJail Jammu of #YasinMalik & others by the authorities. These illegal & undemocratic tactics will not stop people & leadership from demanding peaceful resolution of #Kashmir Dispute in accordance with people’s will,’’ the Mirwaiz tweeted.
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL),comprising the Mirwaiz, Malik and Syed Ali Geelani, in a statement, said a complete shutdown will be observed on Friday to protest the PSA being invoked against Malik.
“Arbitrary arrest and detention of senior resistance leader and chairman JKLF Muhammad Yasin Malik and many others under draconian PSA and shifting of Yasin Sahib to Kotbalwal jail Jammu is most condemnable act. This spree of arrests, ban on Jamat-i-Islami and attempts to tinker with hereditary state subject law under the pretext of 35 A deserves our stiff protest and resistance and people of Kashmir besides holding peaceful protests after Friday prayers will also observe a complete shutdown on Friday,’’ JRL said in a statement.
Article 35A gives special rights to the Jammu and Kashmir’s permanent residents.