Kashmiri prisoners punished for political belief: Mirwaiz

Kashmiri prisoners punished for political belief: Mirwaiz

Seeks intervention of international human rights organisations

Expressing dismay over ill-treatment of Kashmiri prisoners, chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Friday said the detainees were being punished for their “political belief”. 

He said 38 Kashmiri prisoners languishing in various jails have completed their term, but continue to languish in jails, some of them for more than 25 years, against “principles of humanity”.

Addressing Friday congregational gathering at historic Jamia Masjid here, Mirwaiz questioned silence of rights organizations in India and across the globe over the plight of Kashmir prisoners.

“It is unfortunate that none of rights organizations have visited jails in J&K and across India where Kashmiri prisoners are lodged in dismal conditions, despite repeated appeals by leadership and activists,” he said.

Mirwaiz said hundreds of Kashmiri political prisoners lodged in various prisons across India and J&K were “not criminals but those listening to voice of their conscience and following their dream of striving for people’s just right to self-determination. They are being punished by an adverse state for holding this belief”.

“The state under its draconian laws like Public Safety Act (PSA) and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) have booked leaders, activists and youth in false cases and is subjecting them to illegal detention for years which is highly condemnable, and is worst form of human rights violations,” he said. 

He said majority of Kashmiri prisoners have been shifted from Valley to various Indian prisons in brazen violation of Geneva Convention and Supreme Court ruling that lays emphasis on keeping prisoners in jails closer to their homes.

Giving details, Mirwaiz said that at least 38 political prisoners are lodged in various jails even after completing their sentence. The prisoners include Dr. Muhammad Qasim Fakhtoo (26 years in jail); Masrat Alam Bhat (25 years in jail); Muhammad Ayoub Khan and Ghulam Qadir Bhat have completed 24 years in different jails; Javaid Ahmed Khan, Mirza Nisar Hussain, Lateef Ahmed Waza, Ali Muhammad Bhat, Abdul Gani Goni have completed 22 years in different jails; Muhammad Ayoub Dar and Nazir Ahmed Sheikh have completed 18 years each in jails; Ghulam Muhammad Bhat and Muhammad Sidiq Gujar have completed 17 years each in different jail; Barkat Ali Khan, Feroz Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Iqbal Khan, Saim Ahmad Gojar, Mehandiya Gojar and Pervez Ahmed Mir have completed 16 years each in different jail;  Sheikh Imran  and Ishfaq Ahmed Pal have each completed 15 years in different jails; Muhammad Ayoub Mir has completed 14 years in jail; Dr Muhammad Shafi, Bilal Ahmed Kuta, Abdul Hameed Teli and Muhammad Aslam Gojar have each completed 13 years in jails; Maqsood Ahmed Bhat and Muhammad Abbas Wani have each completed 12 years in jails; Showkat  Ahmed Khan, Farooq Ahmad Sheikh and Muzaffar Ahmed Dar have each completed 11 years in jail;  Muzafar Ahmed Rather and  Dr Waseem have completed 10 years in jails; Muhammad Shafi Shah and Bashir Ahmed Baba have completed nine eyars in jails; Dr Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, Muhammad Aslam Wani and Mushtaq Ahmed Lone have completed eight, seven and six years in jails respectively

He said health condition of all these prisoners has deteriorated owing to prolonged detention, and according to Mirwaiz, many of these prisoners were not being produced in courts for trial. 

“This is extremely inhumane and illegal,” he said. 

Mirwaiz said this year leadership and activists including Shabir Ahmad Shah, Shahid-ul-Islam, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Dr Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, Peer Saifullah, Ayaz Akbar, Meraj-u-Din Kalwal, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Shahid Yusuf, Zahoor Ahmad Watali, Asia Andrabi, Fahmeedah Sofi and Naheedah Nasreen would complete two years in Tihar jail without trial.

The Hurriyat (M) chairman urged UNHRC and other human rights organizations to focus their attention on grave misuse of powers against “dissenting political voices” in Kashmir and their “inhuman treatment and prolonged detention in jails”. 

Recalling January 1990 massacres of Handwara and Kupwara Mirwaiz paid glowing tributes to the slain and said “history of our just struggle is written with blood of our innocent and brave people.” Mirwaiz also recalled 1998 Wandhama massacre and expressed sympathy with families of those killed by assailants whose identity was still not known. He demanded an international probe into these massacres for bringing perpetrators to book.