September 2005 News

Centre Scans List Of J-K Prisoners, Some May Be Set Free

27 September 2005
The Indian Express

New Delhi: In line with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assurance to the Hurriyat delegation led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, the Home Ministry plans to clear the release of some political detenues in Jammu and Kashmir. Official sources said that the Ministry was examining a list of names sent by J&K Chief Secretary Vijay Bakaya. Once the names are cleared-the numbers are still to be decided though there are indications that it could be around 100-the first lot of prisoner release by the state government may be timed with the visit to Islamabad next week by External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh. Sources said that the list being examined by the screening committee does not contain high profile names. It's learnt that New Delhi wants Srinagar to go about the release in a phased manner. In Srinagar, when The Indian Express checked with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, he said he was not aware of any list being sent to New Delhi. Nor had he asked for release of prisoners, he said. J&K officials said it was for the state government to release prisoners, if any. But officials pointed out that 'informal consultations' with New Delhi usually preceded any such action. The release of prisoners will be in keeping with the PM's assurance to the Hurriyat leadership. During their talks with Manmohan Singh, Hurriyat leaders led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq had demanded release of political prisoners and reduction of troops in urban areas to improve the ground situation in the Valley. While New Delhi has linked reduction of troops to the overall security situation in Kashmir, it had agreed to release prisoners to boost the political process in J&K.


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