KASHMIR : Indian activists have slammed the authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir for putting a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracker on the body of a man facing “terrorism” charges – the first such use of electronic monitoring reported in the South Asian country.
For more than a week now, Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, a 65-year-old resident of the region’s main city of Srinagar, has been walking with the tracker around his ankle, which officials said has been introduced for prisoners out on bail.
The officials said the device will allow security agencies to maintain round-the-clock surveillance on defendants.
Bhat, a lawyer, was a close associate of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Kashmir’s top separatist leader, who, until a year before his death in 2021, presided over the Hurriyat Conference, the leading separatist group in Indian-administered Kashmir, a region also claimed by neighbouring Pakistan.
Bhat was arrested at his Srinagar home in 2011 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for allegedly financing the activities of the Hurriyat Conference. He was held in a jail in New Delhi and denied bail several times until last week when it was finally approved.
As part of Bhat’s bail conditions, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in the southern city of Jammu ordered authorities to track his activities 24 hours a day. The court also asked him not to change his residence while he is released on bail.
“The Superintendent of Police, Srinagar shall keep the mobility of the applicant on track so as to notice the activities of the applicant time and again,” the court order said.
A police officer in Indian-administered Kashmir told Al Jazeera the GPS device will help authorities track real-time locations of defendants to ensure they comply with their bail conditions. Al jazeera
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