Panel recommends release of eight prisoners
28 April 2003
Our Staff Reporter
JAMMU: After a gap of nearly two months, a meeting of the Joint Screening Committee formed for the release of prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir was held here with the members deciding to recommend the release of eight prisoners. At the last meeting held on March 5 and 6, the committee had recommended the release of 17 and the State Government had accepted the proposal. The next meeting was proposed on March 27 but had to be postponed due to the Nadimarg massacre on three days earlier. The Committee has a Central Government representative - Joint Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir Affairs, in the Union Home Ministry, Rakesh Ahuja, along with the State team which includes the Financial Commissioner (Home), the Director-General of Police (DGP) and the Additional DGP (CID). On March 27, the Centre's representative did not turn up but this time all of them did. The DGP, Ashok Kumar Suri, told The Hindu here, that the names of many prisoners were discussed, but the panel chose only eight. As the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, holds the Home portfolio, the final release was awaiting his approval. Meanwhile, two senior members of the National Conference, have criticised the party's post- election policies. In a statement, the former Minister of State for Home, Khalid Najib Surawardhy, and the MLA, Dialwar Mir, accused the NC of betraying the people and alleged that the leadership was not looking beyond personal interests. They said that the verdict of the 2002 elections was telling in itself and there was need for change in approach.The two questioned the wisdom of the leadership in remaining in the NDA when the Prime Minister holds the NC responsible for the turmoil in the State. The party president, Omar Abdullah, said 'I had gone through the statements and the issue would be discussed in the working committee.'