J&K government reverts decision on PSA against ‘lunatic’ youth

JAMMU: The Mehbooba Mufti-led government is likely to revoke the Public Safety Act (PSA) slapped on a “lunatic” youth accused of desecrating the revered Aap Shamboo temple at Janipur in Jammu city on June 14.

The Jammu district administration had on Wednesday booked Yasir Alfaz of Bhaderwah under Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978, triggering angry spat between independent legislator and BJP in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

Speaking on behalf of the government, Jammu and Kashmir minister for revenue, relief and rehabilitation Syed Basharat Bukhari told Legislative Assembly on Thursday that they will revoke the PSA because mentally retarded person cannot be booked under this law.

“We will get it revoked. We will not allow any wrong things. We will revoke it (PSA) because mentally retarded person cannot booked under this law”, Bukhari said.

The matter was raised by independent MLA from Langate Sheikh Abdul Rasheed aka Engineer Rashid PDP lawmaker from Shopian Mohammad Yousuf Bhat. Bhat even questioned how a mentally challenged man can be booked under PSA.

“It was astonishing to see such a black law being invoked against a person even after it was accepted in the House that the accused is mentally retarded and whatever he did was not intentional”, said Rasheed.

However, BJP lawmakers objected to the statements saying being insane does not qualify for revoking the PSA. “He (the accused) has disturbed peaceful atmosphere in the Jammu region and should be awarded exemplary punishment”, said RS Pathania, BJP MLA.

Tension had gripped Jammu city on June 14 when the temple was allegedly desecrated by a mentally challenged man at Roop Nagar, Janipur.

Mobs later went on a rampage and torched seven vehicles including two buses of Jammu and Kashmir police public school, two Maruti cars and one bike and a scooty of head constable parked outside the police station.

Police later resorted to mild lathi charge and fired smoke shells to disperse the unruly mob Three police personnel of police station Janipur including SHO received injuries while trying to disperse the mob.

“Preliminary investigations suggest that the accused person who entered the temple is a lunatic patient”, said Abdul Haq Khan, J&K law minister, while making a statement in the Legislative Assembly on June 15.

Under pressure, Jammu and Kashmir government released all the 22 people who were detained after mobs went on a rampage following the alleged temple desecration. Police also suspended its head constable and arrested the man allegedly involved in the desecration.

The decision to release the miscreants was taken in a meeting between the government and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) state president Leela Karan Sharma in Jammu on June 15.