Release political prisoners

Greater Kashmir

It will definitely make a difference at this crucial juncture

After granting amnesty to some persons booked for stone pelting and rioting, the government needs to take a decision on the release of political prisoners. The process did start during Mufti Sayed’s lifetime but he succumbed to pressure of hawks in the coalition. The government of India, it seems, may initiate a dialogue with the ‘separatist’ leadership shortly. This has to be supplemented by concrete measures. Thousands of Kashmiris, including minors, are languishing in different jails across India. Most of the detainees are ill treated. According to reportd even the ailing detainees are not removed to hospitals; they are not even taken to courts on hearing days. The people in Kashmir are greatly worried about the plight of detainees. Releasing them, therefore, shall have a positive impact in Kashmir. But, unfortunately, the people have been given to understand that no prisoner is going to be released this year on Eid. The hawks in the coalition are averse to release of political prisoners for obvious reasons. But, a person cannot be held in continued detention without reason for long. Release of political prisoners is one of the demands of the `separatist’ leadership. It has been amply explained to the state government as well as to the union government that release of political prisoners will make a strong and effective confidence building measure (CBM). The hawks have managed to hold the criminal justice system hostage in the state. This has to change. Playing to the tune of the hawks in the coalition will do the government no good. The union government has to demonstrate that it was interested in restoration of order. The pitch has to be toned down. Voices though feeble have been suggesting measures for ensuring a suitable atmosphere for the peace process. The cases of the prisoners need to be reviewed to make the on-going process more fruitful and meaningful. The Chief Minister needs to take the coalition partner on board on the issue. Heavens will not fall if some people who are languishing in jails are allowed to go home. It will definitely make a difference at this crucial juncture.