Termed as ‘draconian’ by opposition, bill seeking amendments in Public Property Act stalled in the Assembly

Jammu: The bill seeking amendments in the Jammu and Kashmir Public Property (Prevention of Damage) Act was stalled in the Assembly on Saturday after the opposition called it ‘draconian and a black law’.

The bill was send to a select committee as all parties supported the move except the BJP.

The bill was introduced to replace the ordinance that was promulgated by Governor N N Vohra last year on the recommendations of the J&K Government.

ALSO READ: Govt introduces controversial Public Property Ordinance in Assembly, faces flak

The act makes people calling for strikes or demonstrations, leading to damage of public property, liable for fines and imprisonment up to five years.

“Whosoever calls for a direct action, whether he participates in such an action directly or indirectly which results in damage to private and public property, shall be deemed to be guilty of abetment the offence under the Act,” reads the bill.

ALSO READ: No more authoritarian laws needed, says Tarigami on Public Property Ordinance

The direct action, according to the bill, means the use of strikes, demonstrations or other public forms of public protests rather than negotiation to achieve a demand.

The rights groups have also slammed the bill saying it criminalizes all modes of protests and dissent. They argue that if damage to property takes place during a protest, its organisers or leaders can be booked even if they are at home.

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik had condemned and ridiculed the ‘outrageous and dictatorial ordinance’ passed by the State Government which calls for imprisonment for those who call and observe shutdown as a form of protest.

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