ICRC hails Mufti’s healing touch philosophy
15 October 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: Asserting that conditions in jails in Jammu and Kashmir are best in the country, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today said that the coalition Government believes in pursuing humane approach even while dealing with militancy situation. Interacting with a team of International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) headed by its Regional Director, South Asia, Mr. Vincent Nicod here this evening, the Chief Minister said that clear instructions have been issued to law enforcing agencies to adopt innovative methods of interrogation to elicit information from arrested persons without torturing them. He said, he has been in constant touch with the jail and police authorities to get proper feedback. He, however, added that militancy situation is most challenging especially in view of fidayeen attacks. But even then the forces by and large exercise exemplary restraint to ensure that no innocent is harmed while responding to the situation. The Chief Minister said that with the help of the people, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved discernibly and atmosphere is considerably relaxed. He said the people are yearning for peace and it will dawn sooner than latter though it is a time consuming process. He said there is now sense of security among the people with markets remaining abuzz with activity till late in the evening, which was not the case in the past. The Chief Minister urged the ICRC team to provide constant feedback to the state authorities as there is always a scope for improvement in any situation. He said the arrests are not much now and only those are apprehended who are involved in theft and other normal crimes. The Chief Minister said that an erroneous perception has been created in Pakistan that the people of Kashmir are captives of the security forces. He asserted that we are a free people, which everyone can see for himself. Mr. Nicod appreciated the healing touch philosophy of the Mufti Government and said it goes well with the objectives of the ICRC. He said the organization has very good contact and working relationship with the leadership of police and security forces in the state, adding that the conditions in prisons are good in Jammu and Kashmir. He said they fully appreciate the situation confronting the State Government and appreciated the cooperation being extended by the local branch of the Red Cross to ICRC.