SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government's move to extensibly use an archaic legislation to control the civil uprising has drawn sharp criticism from the opposition National Conference and rights activists who term the move as a "draconian" step that will aggravate the situation in Kashmir valley.

According to a report in The Indian Express, the J&K Police has prepared a list of 169 “organisers and provocateurs” residing in ten districts of the valley who will be booked under the draconian Public Safety Act, a legislation formerly used against timber smugglers in Kashmir.

"We have already conveyed to the Prime Minister in our meeting that any use of draconian measures will not help the situation. Unless meaningful dialogue is started, the situation of ground is not going to change," Nasir Aslam Wani, the provincial president of National Conference said.

Interestingly, the report says that the list of suspects, which mostly include Hurriyat and Jama'at-i-Islami activists, has been sent directly from the J&K Police headquarters, and not prepared by cops on ground, indicating the role of central agencies.

Mr Wani said the chief minister "doesn't seem to be in control" of the state which was "visible from her press conference yesterday", "By following orders of New Delhi and using PSA against protesters, the chief minister is playing an active role in eroding the credibility of the chair of chief minister. This is only going to aggravate the situation," Wani said.

The list has also identified 1000 persons who have been accused of fanning unrest in Kashmir where at least 67 civilian protesters have been killed in retaliatory action against protesters by the government forces while thousands are injured.

"The chief minister is repeating the mistakes committed by her predecessor. She should not forget that the measures taken by Omar Abdullah to control the 2010 civilian unrest produced men like Burhan Wani," Mahum Shabir, a Kashmir-based rights activist said.

The order has been passed in a letter in second week of August written by the Director General of J&K Police, K Rajendra to the IG Kashmir, SJM Gilani with most of the accused belonging to south Kashmir which has been the centre of anti-India and pro-freedom protests this summer.

(Cover Photograph Basit Zargar)