J&K Police Bill ‘Potential Marshal Law’: PC

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SRINAGAR: Peoples’ Conference led by Sajad Lone today lashed out at the Government for the proposed J&K Police Bill 2013, calling it ‘a covert attempt by the State Government to impose Marshal Law in the State by putting civil liberties and rights into permanent abeyance’.

After a high level meeting  attended by various PC leaders including Rashid Mehmood, Mohammad Kamaal Malik and Junaid Azim Mattu, the PC spokesperson said the police bill is a brazen attempt by the State Government to unleash a new era of suppression in the State.

“It’s ironic that the Chief Minister wants to impose his own version of AFSPA in the State while posturing as a proponent of lifting the draconian law from the State. The bill aims to summarily bypass District Magistrates and Civil Administration in matters of law and order and has conspicuous indications of nurturing and integrating informers and mercenaries into the Police machinery by giving them sweeping, unbridled powers”, the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, PC Chairman Sajad Gani Lone has expressed bewilderment at the Chief Minister’s “double-speak and hypocrisy” by proposing such a “draconian and dictatorial legislation” in a State where the law and order mechanism is perceived to be tainted and oppressive as it is.

Sajad Lone has said that he wonders how the Chief Minister has the audacity to make such a ridiculous proposal while he pretends to oppose AFSPA. “What is the difference between AFSPA and the J&K Police Bill 2013? The J&K Police Bill is in fact a potential validation and incorporation of AFSPA into the State’s legal and law and order machinery and raises serious concerns about NC led government’s stand on draconian laws in the State”, the PC spokesperson quoted Lone of having said.

“The proposals to vest the powers of the District Magistrate with Police Officials and allowing them to arm and prop up counter-insurgents in the garb of a civilian militia are appalling. The proposal of the bill in Section 14 to legally allow “any police officer” to force and coerce “any able bodied person” to carry out brazen counter-insurgency and intelligence activities with a threat of a discretionary arrest is a slap across the face of the people of a State that has witnessed undeniable human rights violations by the Police apparatus and counter-insurgents in the last two decades”, he added.

He said the other proposal to give any police office, irrespective of his rank and jurisdiction to detain a person for “six hours” without accountability and without legal grounds is aimed at yet again bypassing the constitutional rights of the people of J&K. “The Bill also proposes to give sweeping powers to the State Police to enter into any public or private premises without a legal warrant and justification. The bill also brazenly advocates and proposes the unaudited, unqualified and unchecked distribution and use of arms and equipment within the Police department without the requirements of appropriate licenses. Is the State Government, without any shame or hesitation, asking Kashmiris to submit the remainder of their already abolished rights to the J&K Police?”, he added.

“The Bill’s proposal to allow the State to arbitrarily declare any area as a “Special Security Zone” where the powers of the civilian administration can be “integrated” with the Police department is a blatant trivialization of the civilian and legal institutions of the State and making all arms and functions of the civilian and legal machinery subservient to the Police”.

The PC spokesperson said that the bill’s proposal to allow the Director General of Police to employ, constitute, arm and support “any number” of Village Defence Committees and Special Police Officers (SPOs)” in Section 63 is an open declaration of the revival of counter-insurgency in the State.

The PC spokesperson said that from having recommended dreaded Ikhwanis for national awards to having incorporated notorious counter-insurgency names into its folds, National Conference has demonstrated a consistent conviction and loyalty towards extra-judicial mercenaries and Ikhwanis. “It was National Conference that formed and constituted the notorious State Task Force (STF) under the government of Dr. Farooq Abdullah and it is National Conference again that is now publicly advocating the revival of counter-insurgency and the dictatorial supremacy of Police in J&K. The State Government has yet again chosen to humiliate the sentiments and miseries of the people of J&K and has thrown an open challenge to shamelessly complete the transformation of J&K into a total and complete Police State”, he added.

The PC spokesperson added that the Bill was dangerous and alarming and had conspicuous and inherent proposals to suppress civilians by eliminating whatever little checks and balances existed in the law and order machinery. 

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