The Jammu and Kashmir government has revoked the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) against 28 people lodged in jails within and outside the Union territory, officials said. A prominent name to figure in the list is Mohammad Yasin Khan, head of the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturing Federation (KTMF) and the Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), they added. Hundreds of people, including mainstream leaders, were detained and booked under the PSA after August 5 last year when the Centre revoked the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate it into Union territories.
Several of them, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, were recently released. However, other mainstream leaders who continue to be in detention include former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, former minister Naeem Akhtar and NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar. Earlier, 204 prisoners were released from various jails between April 1 and 13. They included 45 prisoners arrested under the PSA, 78 undertrials through the undertrial review committee, 9 undertrials falling under section 107, 109, 151 of the CrPC, besides 16 prisoners who were released on parole.
Pertinently on April 1, a three-member high powered committee headed by Executive Chairman J-K State Legal Services Authority (SLSA), Justice Rajesh Bindal along with Principal Secretary, Home Department, Shaleen Kabra and DGP (Prisons), V K Singh as its members, passed directions for the release of jail inmates except those involved in militancy-related cases to decongest the prisons in the Union Territory. The committee was constituted by the Jammu and Kashmir government following an order by the Supreme Court on March 23, directing the states and the UTs to decongest jails to ensure social distancing among the prisoners, while observing that overcrowding of prisons is a matter of serious concern in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. The official said 132 prisoners were released from seven jails across the Jammu region, 104 were set free from five jails in the valley including a special jail (correction home).