Govt Frees 12 Political Detainees24 August 2011
Srinagar: Just days after Chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani called for peaceful agitation if political prisoners are not released by Eid, Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday set the process rolling to free the detainees arrested under Public Safety Act. State government’s Review Committee headed by Principal Secretary Home department, BR Sharma, recommended release of two close associates of Geelani- Ghulam Nabi Sumji and Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai- and 10 other detainees. They are Mirwaiz south Kashmir Qazi Yasir Ahmad, Bashir Ahmed Mir, Ghulam Muhammad Bangi alias Mam Bangi, Mushtaq Ahmed Nalband, Bilal Ahmed Hajam, Gazanfar Ahmed Hajam, Muhammad Iqbal Naikoo, Nissar Ahmed Thoker, Rouf Ahmed Bhat and Shabir Ahmed Batloo. An official statement said the committee examined each case of PSA detainee in detail and after thorough deliberations recommended their release. “It (review of the PSA cases) is a continuing process,” Sharma told Greater Kashmir. The review committee meets periodically to review the cases of PSA detainees and recommending their releases after examining the quantum of their offences, the statement said, adding on the recommendation of the committee government has released 45 PSA detainees since October 2010. The recommendations follow Tuesday’s Unified Headquarters Meeting headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and attended by top brass of the state’s security apparatus which had among other issues pertaining to law and order discussed the scheduled protest program by Geelani. Sources said the meeting had decided that government will ensure close coordination between security agencies and take every step to ensure that situation remains peaceful. Geelani is scheduled to hold a religious program at his Hyderpora residence Thursday and is expected to interact with media. The pro-freedom leader had called for a peaceful agitation after Eid last Friday. On Monday Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy and National Conference President, Dr Farooq Abdullah, had dared Geelani to go ahead with his program, saying the “protests will burn Kashmir and those who advocate it.” Following summer unrest last year, government had launched a massive crackdown on second and third rung leadership of different pro-freedom parties. Many senior separatist leaders including senior Hurriyat (G) leader Masrat Alam, chairperson Dukhtaran-e-Milat Asiya Andrabi and Islamic Students League chairman, Shakeel Bakshi and Mushtaq-ul-Islam of Muslim League are also facing detention under PSA. Meanwhile Hurriyat Conference (G) today alleged that government was blowing out of proportion the amalgam’s proposed peaceful protest program after Eid, terming it a “ploy to keep its police and other armed forces ready for indiscriminate use of force against peaceful and inoffensive people.” “The government is creating an atmosphere of furore as if Geelani and his associates with all arms and ammunition are going to launch attack and break open the jails to free all detainees. This is all done under a well thought out plan to justify the use of force which the police and other armed forces use against people and their peaceful programs,” said a spokesman of the Hurriyat in a statement today. The spokesman alleged that the government had launched a “negative propaganda campaign” against Hurriyat to give an impression that it (Hurriyat) wanted to launch the “program of gherao, stone pelting and arson in Kashmir while the fact remains that its (Hurriyat’s) programs are always peaceful.” The spokesman clarified that in case government failed to release all political detainees before Eid, the Hurriyat would launch the peaceful program. Pertinently, the state government had also acted on Geelani’s threats in Sopore custodial death case. The government arrested two policemen in connection with the death after Geelani called for peaceful protests in case the guilty cops are not booked.