Srinagar, Mar 22, KNT: Families of Kashmir prisoners lodged outside Kashmir jails are demanding their release amid Coronavirus outbreak. Various family members said that at least Government should bring back these prisoners to Kashmir and lodge them here.
Over 200 Kashmiri inmates are lodged across six prisons in UP. These include Lucknow, Bareilly and Ambedkar Nagar district prison and Agra, Prayagraj and Varanasi central jail. In August last year, 240 Kashmiri inmates were shifted to prisons in UP and about 40 of them have been released following an order of the J&K government.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus, has prompted families of the detainees to double down on their pleas for their children to return home.
Abdul Rashid Mir, whose son Fayaz Ahmed is languishing in Barely Jail told Kashmir News Trust that they are unable to visit UP jail due to Coronavirus scare. “It is very painful to see our loved ones caged in these testing times. Jail authorities had assured us that they will allow inmates to be in touch with family members through video conferences, but that process were never started and even if gets started, we won’t be able to see our loved ones as high speed internet is banned in Kashmir,” they said.
Muhammad Maqbool, a local of Pampore, whose son Irfan Ahmed is in UP Jail said when Iran can release 85,000 inmates, including political prisoners, on a temporary basis due to the spread of the virus in the country, why can’t India follow suit. “Those languishing in outside jails are not criminals but people with different ideology. They are innocent.”
We appeal government of India to release or shift them to Kashmir on humanitarian grounds amid Covid-19 outbreak. “We are living in fear following the Coronovirus pandemic,” they said.