Two days after Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chief Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai died at a hospital in Jammu, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and appealed for release of all political prisoners in the Union Territory.
Citing the growing number of Covid-19 cases in J&K, Mufti wrote, “Hundreds, or may be thousands of detainees & political prisoners arrested since August 2019 continue to languish in jails both in and outside J&K. Most of them are detained under preventive laws and don’t face any prosecution.”
She wrote reports about jail inmates dying due to Covid-19, and lack of medical attention being given to them, are coming in. “At a time the system is struggling to cope with this horrendous situation, lives of prisoners may be the least priority,” she mentioned.
Drawing Modi’s attention to the issue, Mufti underscored that many countries have released prisoners on parole in view of the pandemic. “A democratic & civilised country like India shouldn’t drag its feet & must release these detainees immediately so that they can return home at a time when life feels so threatened,” she stated.
This is Mufti’s first communication with the Prime Minister since August 5, 2019, when she was placed under detention alongside the entire political mainstream of the erstwhile state.