Srinagar,Ishfaq-ul-Hassan(dna): Separatists have a reason to smile after Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed directed the police to initiate a process of releasing all those political prisoners against whom no criminal charges are registered.
“Releasing political prisoners will send a positive message across the political spectrum of the state. Dissent in democracy makes the system vibrant and dynamic and we should always try to evolve such a system.
Democracy is a battle of ideas and it should not be held hostage to the agreements or disagreements on issues,” Mufti said while chairing a meeting with the police top brass in Jammu.
Dozens of prisoners including Masarat Alam Bhat, who was the face of 2010 agitation, are presently lodged in different jails across Jammu and Kashmir.
There are several militants including Mohammad Qasim Fakhtoo serving life sentence for killing human rights activists, and stone throwers who are also in different jails across the state.
Separatists led by Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani have been demanding the release of all the prisoners including Bhat and Fakhtoo from the jails.
The release of all the youth was one of the important promise of the Peoples Democratic Party in the assembly elections of 2014. “Review all the cases of youth and withdraw them after security,” reads the manifesto of PDP.
Hurriyat hawks led by Geelani reacted guardedly to Mufti’s directions to release prisoners from the jails. “They are not doing any favour by releasing the people. Dozens of youth and leaders are in jails which is a gross human rights violation. Plus we say those people who had waged armed struggle and are in jails should also be released because they too are political prisoners,” said Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Geelani led Hurriyat.
Mufti also directed DG of police to prepare a comprehensive plan for the rehabilitation of surrendered and released militants so that they are integrated into the mainstream of the society of the State.
“These youth should be given a chance to settle down and lead a normal life as other citizens of the State and contribute to the society,” he said.
Mufti also asked police to bring in a behavioral change amongst themselves and present a soft humane face to the people and a helping hand to the needy.
“Police has played a significant role in the conduct of recent Assembly elections which have further strengthened the democratic institutions and procedures in the state. Similar spirit has to be displayed by the Police on other days as well,” he said