November 2002 News

Mufti ‘serious’ about free trial

7 November 2002
The Indian Express
Mufti Islah

Srinagar: A Srinagar court today released on bail former JKLF commander Nazir Ahmad Sheikh alias Gulla Denter and Hizbul Mujahideen top militant Mohammad Ayub Dar. The two have been lodged in different jails for 12 years. Since last week, as many as three top militant commanders serving detention for over a decade have been released on bail. A few days ago, JKLF commander Showkat Ahmad Bakshi, accused in the abduction of CM’s daughter Rubiya Sayeed, was released after 13 years. The bailing out of the militants by the PDP-Congress government is a major policy shift of the state government, as envisioned in their Common Minimum Programme. Earlier, militants who would be set free on bail, would be re-arrested on different charges. ‘‘Yes, it is a policy shift. We would re-arrest the militants who we wanted to confine, but the new government wants to let them off,’’ admits a state government official. Indication of the PDP-Congress combine’s policy on detainees became somewhat clear when Bakhshi, re-arrested a day after his release, was not interned again. In fact, sources say, the officer who had asked him to report to police was snubbed by the government. Bakhshi’s immediate release also confirmed the coalition government’s ‘‘endeavour’’ to give the detainees a free trial. There have also been indications to the release of Hurriyat leaders presently in jail. The government will decide on releasing Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Yasin Malik and Sheikh Abdul Aziz soon.


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