Srinagar, Nov 29: Kashmiri political prisoners facing harassment and “physical torture” at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail have evoked a sharp reaction in the Valley.
Many people believe that such moves are a part of “political vendetta” and Kashmiri prisoners have become the soft targets.
It’s in place to mention here that 18 Kashmiris were allegedly assaulted by a unit of Tamil Nadu Special Police inside Tihar jail on the night of November 21-22. The victims included Syed Shahid Yousuf, the son of Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Mufti took a serious note of the assault on Kashmiri prisoners and took up the issue with the union home secretary Rajiv Gauba and expressed her displeasure about the incident.
Since the day New Delhi ahs appointed Dineshwar Sharma as the new interlocutor on Kashmir the voices seeking release of political prisoners are becoming shriller. “If New Delhi decides to set free the political prisoners it would help in taking Centre’s peace initiative forward. For time being at least New Delhi can ensure that Kashmiri political prisoners are not harassed. This could prove to be big step towards restoring the confidence of people in Kashmir,” said an analyst.
He said that it’s unfortunate that political prisoners have been lodged with the hardcore criminals and are being deprived of the basic amenities in the jail. “Kashmiri prisoners who are lodged in Tihar Jail are not criminals. They are facing jail term due to their political ideology. They are human beings and their rights need to be respected,” the analyst added.
National Conference President and Member of Parliament, Dr Farooq Abdullah said such incidents were reprehensible and unacceptable.
“All Kashmiri prisoners should be shifted to jails within the State and Chief Minister is morally bound to ensure their safety and welfare. She should visit Tihar Jail immediately and ensure their safety and also initiate a process of shifting these prisoners back to jails within the State while the cases against them are processed. The rule of law is supreme and under the same rule of law every detainee has unquestionable and non-negotiable rights. These rights have to be upheld at all costs,” Dr Farooq said.
A Kashmir watcher said, “New Delhi needs to introspect rather than playing into the hands of extremists who believe that all Kashmiris are terrorists. Top mainstream politicians in Jammu and Kashmir are expressing their dismay over political prisoners being treated shabbily. If New Delhi fails to take the cognizance of these reports it can even push their own people in Jammu and Kashmir to edge.”
It’s in place to mention here that the Delhi High Court on Monday said that violation of fundamental, human and legal rights of prisoners, who have alleged they were subjected to severe physical torture at the Tihar, was “very disturbing.”
“We need to take a call. It (the incident) is completely unjustifiable. If this is the situation in Delhi, what about other places,” a bench of acting-Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar remarked.
It said that the issue was “extremely serious” and required a “serious probe”, before an intervention by this court.