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Plight of Kashmiri inmates: Joint Hurriyat questions GoI

Srinagar, July 24: Joint Hurriyat Leadership, in a seminar here on Tuesday, highlighted the plight of the Kashmiri prisoners lodged in several jails in and outside the state.

Titled ‘prisoners of conscience’, the seminar noted the completion of one year of incarceration of several Hurriyat leaders, who were held by National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in July last year last year and eventually shifted to Tihar jail in Delhi.

 

Those arrested included Shabir Ahmad Shah, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saif-u-ullah, Meraj-u-Din Kalwal, Farooq Ahmed Dar, Zahoor Ahmad Watali, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Aslam Wani and Shahid Yousuf.

Of Joint Hurriyat’s leadership trio, Yasin Malik presided over the seminar while as Syed Ali shah Geelani, who continues to remain under house arrest, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who was placed under house arrest Tuesday morning, addressed the gathering over the phone.

The seminar was attended by various political leaders, social activists, human rights dignitaries’, leaders of trade bodies, members of civil society, intellectuals, educationists, Lawyers, kith and kin of Kashmiri prisoners languishing in various jails.

“You cannot eat the cake and have it too, shun your claim of being champion of democracy or respect democratic dissent and human rights. India is violating the Geneva Convention on prisoners by terrorizing Kashmiri inmates,” said various speakers who addressed the reverential seminar at Srinagar’s Abi Guzar area.

In his telephonic address, Geelani said that there was no question of forgetting the “great sacrifices offered by Kashmiri youth, who are languishing in various jails including in Tihar”.

“Our daughters like Asiya Andrabi and her two aides too are lodged in worst ever prison. We salute our prisoners,” he said.

He urged people for poll boycott. “People should stay away from Panchayat, parliamentary or other polls,” he urged.

Speaking over the phone, Mirwaiz said that unity was the “sole solution to all problems”.

“Kashmiris have been facing AFSPA, PSA, and detentions since 1990, which are being used with an ultimate aim to force us into submission.  We are not scared of detentions,” Mirwaiz said.

In his address, Malik said that prisoners are “our assets and we will consult the leadership so that a day is fixed every month to commemorate their detention and resilience”.

The seminar was held to highlight the worst and inhuman conditions faced by “pro-resistance” Kashmiri inmates at various Indian jails like Tihar jail, Mandawali Jail Delhi and jails of Jammu Kashmir including Udhampor jail, Khutua Jail, Hiranagar jail, Amphala jail Jammu, Srinagar central jail, Mattan Jail, Baramullah Jail, Kupwara jail, KotBlawal jail and other incarceration centers

Various speakers said that India being a signatory to the Geneva Convention on prisoners should abide by the international law.

“But contrary to this, India is employing every evil means to inflict more and more harm to these inmates,” quoting speakers, a spokesman of the Joint Hurriyat later said in a statement.

Speakers said that Kashmiri prisoners were the “prisoners of conscience”, and they deserve the sympathy and ownership of the international community.

“India on one hand claims to be the biggest democracy of the world but on the other hand is caging down political activists for holding a political belief,” the statement quoting speakers said.

“This is not a democratic approach… India should either shun its claim of being biggest democracy or stop choking space on political activities’, refrain from caging down political dissent, respect democratic norms and allow political resistance of the people of Jammu Kashmir,” the speakers, as per the statement, said.

“While highlighting the miseries faced by Kashmiri prisoners, speakers said that slapping repeated PSA’s employing police tactics to prolong incarceration of prisoners, using agencies like NIA, ED etc to imprison Kashmiri prisoners in Indian jails, shifting lifers and other detainees from Kashmiri jails to jails in Jammu, denying proper medical facilities’ to inmates , torturing, beating, putting into solitary confinements, keeping inmates naked inside prison cells, humiliating and torturing their kith and kin who come to see them at jails and other incarceration centers and other oppressive measures like these have become a new normal in Jammu Kashmir,” the Joint Hurriyat said.