SRINAGAR — The Hurriyat Conference (M) on Monday expressed concern about the health reports of Kashmiri political detainees in jails across India as the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the country.
In a statement, Hurriyat (M) said that as per family sources of prisoners, lack of even basic amenities inside the jails has led to serious health problems among the prisoners.
Quoting family sources of Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam who is in Tihar jail, the statement said that he is very ill and showing all symptoms of COVID-19 including high fever, but authorities are neither getting him tested nor taking him to the hospital.
Hurriyat said that it is extremely worrisome that political prisoners, who are also humans, could be treated like this. It said that the silence of one and all including human rights organisations on this issue has led the authorities to show this indifference and inhumanity towards prisoners.
“Such is the apathy that Mohd Ayaz Akbar, who is in Tihar jail, was not released even for a day on parole despite repeated appeals to see his wife suffering from cancer for the past three years, till she breathed her last recently,” it said.
Hurriyat said that political prisoners, youth, civil society members and even female political leaders continue to languish in jails for years together now, without any case and proper judicial trial, with authorities playing with their lives and their health, especially in times of COVID as it is rapidly spreading in jails.
“Leaders including Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, Syed Shahid Yousuf, Syed Shakeel Ahmad, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Aasiya Andrabi, Fehmeeda Sofi, Nahida Nasreen, Ashraf Sehrai, Zahoor Ahmed and others are forced to live miserably and among high COVID-19 risk to their lives in Tihar jail, Kot Bhalwal jail, Jodhpur jail, Agra jail, Amphala jail, Haryana jail, and other prisons across Indi,” the statement added.
Hurriyat appealed to human rights organisations, civil society members and “all those people who have a heart” to begin to focus upon the plight of these prisoners in jails and ensure their release before it is too late.
The statement also asked the government authorities to release these political prisoners, youth and others especially in view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 in jails.
Hurriyat also expressed strong resentment over the continued “arbitrary house detention” of its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq even in the holy month of Ramadan, saying the 21-month-long detention of the leader is hurting the sentiments of the people. (KNO)