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‘Political leaders’ facing COVID-19 risk in jails: Hurriyat

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. File   | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

The Hurriyat, headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on Monday expressed concern over deteriorating health conditions of “political leaders” lodged in jails outside J&K and potential threat of contracting the novel coronavirus, in the wake of the fast spreading pandemic.

A Hurriyat spokesman said the Mirwaiz’s spokesman, Advocate Shahid ul Islam, who is lodged inside the Tihar Jail in New Delhi, was showing symptoms of the virus.

“Mr. Islam is very ill and is showing all symptoms including high fever. However, the jail authorities are neither getting him tested nor taking him to the hospital,” the spokesman alleged.

He said the Hurriyat is extremely worried about the scores of jailed “political prisoners”. “Silence, especially of the human rights organisations, is worrying,” the spokesman said.

The family of another senior Hurriyat leader Mohammad Ashraf Khan, 77, has also alleged that the incarcerated leader’s health condition has deteriorated.

“Mr. Khan complains that he is not even able to stand and the eyesight is witnessing fast degeneration,” the family members said.

The spokesman of the Mirwaiz also described the decision not to release another Hurriyat leader Muhammad Ayaz Akbar on the demise of his wife recently as “unheard apathy” from the authorities.

“The leaders, like Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmad Shah, 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 facing high risk of contracting the virus in the jails,” the spokesman said.

The Hurriyat asked the government “to release these political prisoners in view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases in jails”.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), whose two senior leaders Nayeem Akhtar and Sartaj Madani remain in jails, also demanded release of all political prisoners.

“While the pandemic is wreaking havoc across the country and is consuming lives ferociously, one fails to understand what pleasure is the govt. deriving out of inhuman and illegal incarceration of political prisoners who continue to languish in various jails in and outside of Kashmir.

“It is high time that the government gives up on its vindictive approach towards the leadership of J&K. We reiterate our demand for immediate release of all the political prisoners and those being held under detention on other frivolous charges,” a PDP spokesman said.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 7:53:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/political-leaders-facing-covid-19-risk-in-jails-hurriyat/article34416851.ece

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