Amid demands for end to detentions, Govt mulling panel

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Amid growing demands for the release of Kashmiri detainees in the wake of Covid19 spread, the government is constituting a high-powered committee on the directions of Supreme Court.

“We are expecting an order from the government very soon for the establishment of the panel that will look into release of persons detained in the valley or outside,” a senior government official, privy to developments, told Greater Kashmir on the basis of anonymity.

The official said that the panel would comprise chairperson of J&K legal services committee, principal secretary home and director general of prisons to determine which category of prisoners can be released on parole or an interim bail for such a period of time as might be appropriate.

The exercise is likely to take some time, said the official. “It is not such a difficult exercise, but it is not as easy as simply opening the bolts, either,” he said, adding that they will have to first form the committee and then screen the prisoners. “Each case has to be individually considered,” said the official. On Tuesday, Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde had directed all states and Union Territories to decongest jails in view of social distancing which is being encouraged to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease. The senior official said that most of persons arrested just before scrapping of Article of 370 last August are likely to be set free. “Kashmiris arrested in August last year and detained in UP and other states of country are well. I get health bulletin every morning and so far they are well,” JK Director General of Prisons, V K Singh, told Greater Kashmir.