Student of Class V among two minors detained under PSA

SRINAGAR: The authorities in Kashmir have detained two minors under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which expressly prohibits the detention of anyone under 18 years of age.

editorial@tribune.com

Ishfaq Tantry

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, November 1

The authorities in Kashmir have detained two minors under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which expressly prohibits the detention of anyone under 18 years of age.

One of the detainees, Tajamul Rasool, who hails from Banpora Hajin of Bandipora district in north Kashmir, is a class V student. He has been lodged at the faraway Kote Balwal Jail in the Jammu province.

Pained at the detention of their wards, the families have approached the J&K High Court with a habeas corpus petition, seeking their release and the quashing of the detention orders.

As per the school records submitted by his parents before the High Court, Tajamul is 13 years old, with his date of birth recorded as March 4, 2003. He was arrested on September 11, 2016, and implicated in two false cases, his parents have alleged in the petition, adding that instead of sending him to the juvenile home, Tajamul was booked under the PSA on September 16 and shifted to Kote Balwal.

Another minor, Rashid Wani, hails from Anchar Soura in Srinagar. In the petition, his parents claimed he was a class X student and 17 years old with his date of birth shown as January 1, 1999, in the school records. Having attached these records with the petition before the High Court, the parents have alleged that their school-going ward was booked under the PSA on August 18, 2016, lodged at Kupwara jail.

As per the ground of detentions given by the District Magistrate, Bandipora, on September 16, which forms the basis of the PSA order, the age of Tajamul, has, however, been shown 18. The DM wrote that Tajamul was “stigma for peace-loving citizens” and there was “every likelihood” that he may be released on bail, and his “remaining at large will definitely prove fatal/detrimental to the maintenance of the peace.”

Regarding Rashid Wani, the detention order said he was “a known anti-social element and one of the main instigators” of stone-throwing in the Hazratbal zone of Srinagar city. Besides, he has been shown involved in five FIRs relating to stone-throwing and protests registered at the Soura police station.

“The detention of these two minor boys clearly shows the non-application of mind by the respective detaining authorities and also the misuse of the PSA, which prohibits detention of any anyone under the age of 18 years,” said counsel Nasir Qadri, who is pleading the petition of Tajamul and Rashid before the High Court.

While the petition of Tajamul is slated to come of before High Court next week, the court has already issued notices to the authorities in the petition challenging detention of Rashid, asking them to file a response within two weeks.

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