SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday set aside the order to detain human rights activist Khurram Parvez, who has been in custody in Kupwara for the past two months, local reporters said. He had been kept in Kot Balwal Jail on charges under the Public Safety Act. He was first detained on September 16, then taken into custody a second time on September 21. However, it remains unclear whether he has been released by the police.
Reports said that the Jammu and Kashmir government, reportedly, cited “foreign clothes” of Khurram Parvez as one of the reasons to object his release from detention.
Outlookindia.com reported, “In its objection to a habeas corpus petition filed by Imroz seeking release of Khurram, J&K government informed the High Court on Thursday that there was no way to prevent the human right’s activist from indulging in activities “detrimental to the maintenance of the public order other than putting him under preventive detention.”
Khurram besides, heading a human rights group, Jammu and Kashmir coalition of civil society, is also Chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, a collective of 13 non-governmental organisations from ten Asian countries that campaign on the issue of enforced disappearances.
Pertinently, during the night of September 15, Khurram was arrested from his home in Sonwar area.
Khurram on September 14 was also barred from traveling to Geneva, Switzerland, from New Delhi where he was scheduled to attend the 33rd UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva to brief UN bodies, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and foreign governments, on Kashmir situation.
After his arrest, Police invoked sections (107/151 CRPC) of the law against the Khurram.
Earlier, after being sent Kupwara sub-jail, Khurram’s family had approached CJM Srinagar. “CJM termed the executive magistrates order, according to which he was sent under detention for five days, as illegal and directed the authorities to release him.
However, Khurram was released only to be re-arrested outside Kupwara sub-jail jail.
The district magistrate Srinagar, on September 22, booked Khurram under Public Safety Act (PSA) and he was taken to Kot-Balwal jail Jammu.
DM Srinagar in his detention order against the activist has described him as an anti-social element and his activities “prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.”
The state government in September also rejected an application of Khurram father that the activist shouldn’t be shifted to Jammu as he is physically challenged. Khurram has lost one of his legs during a landmine blast in 2004.
Additional advocate general of the State, Iqbal Dar, in his arguments while objecting to Khurram’s release said, “Our schools are closed. Our education system is ruined. Development of the state has been put on hold because of these people.”
Dar said, “These are the well-planted persons. When he went to the jail there were three suitcases with him and there were foreign clothing.”
Khurram’s counsel Parvez Imroz argued that prior to the activist’s detention there was no FIR registered against him. The outlook report said, “The writ petition accuses the District Magistrate Srinagar of non-application of mind in passing PSA detention order against Khurram as the activist was already detained when the PSA detention order was passed. There is no requirement under law to pass a fresh detention order when a person is already detained under normal law.”
Imroz says grounds of detention against Khurram are vague.
He said, “Government contends Khurram has a long history of secessionist activities but they cited four FIRs against him and all of them are post July 8 and none names him.”
Meanwhile, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has termed the reason as “unbelievable”.
Omar tweeted, “He took foreign clothes to jail with him & used suitcases to carry them is the reason J&K govt wants to keep him in jail. #unbelieveable.”