PSA detainee dies | Police denied him medical treatment: Family

Sopore: A 22-year old youth of this north Kashmir town, serving detention under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA), died in SKIMS Srinagar Thursday afternoon. While the family of the deceased blamed police for the death, saying that they did not provide him medical treatment despite court directions, the cops rebutted the allegations. The death comes at a time when Jammu and Kashmir government is reportedly sitting over the proposed amendments in PSA to make it humane despite widespread global criticism.
Family of Sajad Ahmad son of Ghulam Nabi Dar of Sangrampora Sopore said that the youth was detained by Special Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police in November last year.
“After three days, he was left in half-dead condition. It took more than 15 days for him to recover. After his condition became stable, he was again detained by the SOG men and kept in Police Station Sopore for more than 20 days,” Ghulam Nabi, father of the deceased, said.
“Then he was taken to sub-jail Baramulla and later shifted to district jail Kupwara,” he said.
The family alleged that Sajad’s condition worsened in the district jail due to alleged negligence of the staff.
“He was not provided requisite medical aid resulting in deterioration of his health. The court had directed police to conduct his proper medical check-up, but the jail staff did not pay any heed to it. His condition worsened with every passing day and we had to take medicines from home for him,” said Tariq Ahmad, Sajad’s brother.
“His life could have been saved had he been provided proper medical treatment,” Tariq said.
The family said that they urged police and civil authorities to release him for treatment ‘but they turned deaf ears to our repeated pleas.’
While SKIMS authorities couldn’t be contacted for comment, the post-mortem of the deceased was conducted at Rainawari hospital.
Till late evening the body of the deceased was not handed over to the family for performing last rites. Tension gripped Sopore town as large contingent of police was deployed to foil any expected protests.
When contacted, IGP Prisons, Naveen Aggrawal, denied the allegations by the family of the deceased.
“Soon after he developed complications last evening, medical officer was called for providing him medical aid. This morning he was rushed to SKIMS for treatment. But it is unfortunate that he died there,” he said.
Naveen said that they will take action against prison staff if it was found that they had shown any negligence in the treatment of the deceased.
Repeated attempts to contact Minister of State for Home, Nasir Aslam Wani, proved futile as he did not pick up phone.
Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, said, “I had passed the (PSA) order on the dossier prepared by police. I have no power to release anybody serving detention under PSA as this power lies with the government.”
The PSA, which allows two-year detention without any trial, has evoked widespread global condemnation with human rights bodies asking government to repeal the Act. Following the criticism, government in a face-saving move had proposed some amendments in the Act. However, the amendments hit a roadblock after Governor sought clarifications over one of the clauses.


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