Noting that many Kashmiri prisoners locked up in jails outside Kashmir are contracting Covid-19, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association (JKHBA) on Sunday asked the government either shift Kashmiri detainees in Tihar and other jails to Kashmir or release them on parole.
The Bar said releasing Kashmiri detainees is the prerogative of the government and the government should look into it.
JKHBA spokesman advocate G. N Shaheen says the health condition of hundreds of Kashmiri prisoners lodged in different jails outside Jammu and Kashmir is a matter of serious concern. He said the detainees should be shifted to the nearest jails in Kashmir as Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose a threat to their lives.
“Bar Association is expressing its deep concern about conditions of Kashmiri prisoners lodged outside jails and demands immediate shifting of these prisoners to the nearest jails in Kashmir valley. It is also appealed that the cases of these prisoners, detenues be reviewed for release on parole keeping in view the gravity 0f the pandemic,” Shaheen said.
In a meeting chaired by the Bar president Nazir Ahmad Ronga, the Bar said, “It was decided to appeal to the government of India and UT administration to review the cases of prisoners for release on parole and shifting of these prisoners to the nearest jails in Kashmir valley.”
“It was observed in the meeting that due to Covid-19 restrictions courts are not able to take up cases with the desired priority as such administration is requested for shifting or release of the overall prisoners on parole which is the prerogative of the government and not of judiciary,” he added.
Earlier Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) criticized the government for the “inhuman and illegal incarceration” of senior PDP leaders and other political prisoners, who continue to languish in various jails in and outside of Kashmir, “without rhyme and reason”.
“Notwithstanding the fact that the detention of top party leaders including Muhammad Sartaj Madni and Naeem Akhter is illegal in the first place, the government has given up even on the basic pretense of empathy and humanism when it comes to political prisoners of J&K even in the holy month of Ramadhan,” the PDP statement said.
“While the pandemic is wreaking havoc across the country and is consuming lives in an unprecedented manner, one fails to understand what pleasure is the government deriving out of continuous detention of the two elderly leaders suffering from underlying health issues,” it said.
A PDP spokesman said that it was ironic that the Government of India (GoI) was mending relations with its neighbors while it continues to deal with its own people as enemies.
“It is high time that the government gives up on its vindictive approach towards the leadership of J&K and course corrects its decisions,” the PDP said.