Bukhari seeks release of all detainees amid COVID-19

Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) president Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday welcomed the release of former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and demanded that all other political detainees, including former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti be also released at an earliest in view of COVID-19 outbreak.

In a statement issued here, Bukhari termed the revocation of the PSA against Omar Abdullah a significant move that will help in making the situation more conducive in Jammu and Kashmir. He demanded that hundreds of other political activists currently detained in and outside Jammu and Kashmir jails be freed especially in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It has been our consistent demand that all the political activists and leaders, including former chief ministers be released to ease up the sufferings of people. Their release has assumed more significance in light of the COVID-19 outbreak that has paralyzed the whole world,” Bukhari observed.

He said that hundreds of political activists who are presently detained in outside Jammu and Kashmir jails like Ambedkar Nagar, Lukhnow, Allahabad, Agra, Rai Bareli, Agartala and Tihar need to be shifted back to their native places immediately so as to ensure their safety from the pandemic.

“On the one side the central government is taking all measures to stem spread of the COVID-19 and on the other hand it seems the plight of political detainees and their families is being ignored for obvious reasons,” Bukhari remarked.

He said that there are families who are not in a position to meet their loved ones detained after August 5, 2019. “The government imposed restrictions on interstate travel and the spread of COVID-19 has further added to the woes of families of the political detainees. The government must immediately release all the political detainees and till those formalities are completed their lodgement should be shifted to J&K without any further delay,” he advocated.

Bukhari said the COVID-19 crisis has adversely affected the basic human rights of political detainees who are held without charge or trial but on a mere suspicion. “The families of such detainees are undergoing mental trauma as they are not able to visit their near and dear ones regularly. The Central govrnnment must order their release on compassionate and humanitarian grounds,” he observed.

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