Minister promises to revoke; BJP quotes rules, says cannot be done

Pardeep Singh Bali

A day after Public Safety Act (PSA) was slapped on a Doda youth, who was booked for ‘desecrating’ a temple in Janipur area of Jammu, the government on Thursday expressed intentions to revoke the same, much to the chagrin of BJP legislators who vehemently opposed the same.

For a moment, it appeared as if the two coalition partners were bitter rivals. BJP legislator RS Pathania, who is law graduate, took dig at the government for breaching rules and regulations, enshrined in state constitution. “How can this be done? Being lunatic is no ground for revocation of the act. The youth has vitiated atmosphere in Jammu region. He should be treated as per law,” said Pathania, adding, “Minister has no power to revoke the act. Only Sub-district magistrate has power to slap or revoke the Act.”

He said some vested interest people are hell bent to disturb the peace in the state and same was done during exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in early 1990s. “Some people in Kashmir damaged and destroyed the temples, houses and threatened the minority community of the Kashmir province and forced them to leave homes. When the enquiry was called, a handful of lunatic and insane people were held responsible,” Pathania asserted and requested the government to contemplate over the issue, before reaching any conclusion.

But Pathania’s reaction angered Rashid, who said that “it will have to happen.” Earlier, ruling PDP MLA from Shopian, Muhammad Yousuf Bhat raised the issue in the Lower House of the legislature when the proceedings of the Question Hour began today. “How can the government slap PSA on a person who was declared lunatic,” Bhat said in the Lower House.

Bhat’s query created ruckus in the House as Independent MLA from Langate, Er Abdul Rashid joined the ruling legislator. The two legislators were supported by another ruling MLA, Abdur Rahim Rather from Kokernag Assembly segment. “I demand the PSA be revoked on the youth who is lunatic,” Rather said.

While responding to the legislators, the government condemned the sacrilegious act on the temple. “It is wrong to slap PSA on a lunatic person. We will revoke it and inquire what has led to it,” Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Syed Basharat Bukhari said in the House.

Yasir Alfazi, a youth from Doda, who was declared “lunatic” by the government in the House after the sacrilegious act on Aap Shamboo temple in Janipur locality in Jammu region in last week, was arrested by police and slapped PSA on Wednesday. The act had erupted violence with mobs burning three vehicles, vandalizing public property. 22 person were arrested by police for violence but were released after interference by the government.

However, the coalition partner of PDP, BJP was incensed with the announcement of revoking the act on the youth. “How can this be done. Being lunatic is no ground for revocation of the act. The youth has vitiated the atmosphere in Jammu, he should be given tough punishment,” said R.S.Pathani, MLA from Jammu. However, Peoples Conference from MLA from Kupwara, who was practicing lawyer before joining politics, confronted the BJP lawmaker. “If any person is declared lunatic, as per law he can be exempted even from 302 (murder).”



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