Kashmiri separatists are upset as Governor NN Vohra has opened the doors for shifting of people detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) to jails outside Jammu and Kashmir. He has amended provisions of the Public Safety Act (PSA) for the purpose. Earlier, PSA provided that the detainees who were permanent residents of J&K could not be lodged in jails outside the state.

The PSA was last amended in 2011.

The separatists and the Valley-based mainstream political parties are demanding that the amendment to the PSA is rolled back so that the detainees remain in the cool environment of the state and are not sent to jails in states where the weather is extremely hot.

The separatists fear the pro-Pakistan detainees might be shifted to jails outside the state. Several of their activists allegedly involved in anti-national activities are currently lodged in jails within the state.

Top separatist leaders, including Syed Alishah Geelani and Yasin Malik, had been prior to the amendment by the National Conference government sent to jails in Punjab, Bihar and UP. Under house arrest in Srinagar, the separatists are enjoying the liberty of addressing people through telephone at the funerals of terrorists killed in encounter with security forces and making provocative statements.

Prior to the latest amendment, a top functionary of the state government had said: “We have miserably failed to check activities of the separatist leaders”.

In a statement in Srinagar, Geelani criticised the “puppet authorities for their rude and heartless approach against detainees”.

National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said this decision would send incarcerated undertrials away from their families and further add to the sense of isolation when all efforts should be made to build bridges of reconciliation with the people. The Omar Abdullah government issued an ordinance in 2011 providing that no resident of J&K detained under the PSA could be shifted to a jail outside the state.

The State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by Vohra, on 20 June approved deletion of Section 10 of the PSA that pertained to shifting of any detainee outside J&K.

The step is being seen as a deterrent for those indulging in anti-national protests and stone pelting in Kashmir.