50 Minors Among 1,000 Languishing In Jails: Syed Ali Shah Geelani

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Srinagar, Nov 18: Voicing grave concern over the continued detention of political activists and imprisonment of more than 50 minors in Jammu and Kashmir, the Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Friday urged Amnesty International to take a serious note of the pathetic condition Kashmiri prisoners had been going through in jails and use its influence to get them released by the government of India.
In a statement, Geelani said more than 1,000 political prisoners besides over 50 juveniles were languishing in various jails both within Jammu and Kashmir and in various Indian states.
“Although, according to the international conventions, all of them are political activists engaged in the freedom movement of the region, the Indian authorities have been treating them as war criminals and subjecting them to inhuman treatment,” he said, adding they were routinely being tortured and harassed by jail authorities.
Geelani said India was a member of the United Nations and was expected to subject the political prisoners to a better treatment. “But they are being treated like war criminals,” he said, urging the Indian government to treat all the Kashmiri activists, including those on death row or serving life imprisonment, according to the Geneva Conventions and withdraw all the cases against them.
“The political prisoners of any war zone across the world is entitled to treatment as per the international law because Kashmiris among the disputed territories and those engaged in its freedom struggle are to be treated as such,” Geelani said, adding that there was no justification to register criminal cases against them or punish them.
Even as India claims to be the world’s largest democracy, Geelani said, the country’s trackrecord over more than 60 years past negated it. “Not only are democratic rights being denied to the people of this region, but the Indian forces are engaged in gross human rights violations. People are routinely detained under the garb of PSA, AFSPA and DDA and kept behind bars for years together without any trial,” he said, adding that even those against whom cases are registered, were not being produced before courts.
Geelani alleged even the courts were not being allowed to function. “In spite of having an elected government, the state is ruled by the army and police. They do not honour even court orders and even after various detainees are released by them, they are not set free,” he said.

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