India To Release 40 Political Detainees In Kashmir
22 March 2006
Jammu: India will release 40 political detainees who have been held in prison in Kashmir for opposing Indian rule, officials said on Wednesday. 'Yes, we have decided to release 40 political detainees who committed minor offences,' a senior police official, who did not wish to be named, told Reuters. It was not clear what offences the 40 had been held for, nor how long they had been in prison. No date was announced for the release but officials said the process could take 3-4 days. Special laws in Kashmir, where an Islamic revolt against Indian rule has killed tens of thousands of people since 1989, make it easier for security forces to arrest, interrogate and hold suspects for 30 days, without bringing them to court. There are more than 400 political detainees in jails across Kashmir and 77 foreign-born militants are in prisons in other parts of India, officials said. The release of the prisoners comes after a conference last month in which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Kashmiri leaders the government would look into the issue of releasing some detainees. Separatist parties have long demanded the release of political detainees, but the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella organisation grouping various separatist parties, has said they should all be released in one go, and not in batches.