Other States

Process begins to free J&K political leaders in phases

No work: Shopkeepers outside their closed shops in the tourist resort of Gulmarg on Tuesday.

No work: Shopkeepers outside their closed shops in the tourist resort of Gulmarg on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

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Those who pose least threat to peace will be released first

The J&K government has initiated a process to release at least 173 incarcerated leaders of the regional political parties, including those from the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Conference (PC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in phases in the coming days.

Sources said the Union Home Ministry had passed on directions to the J&K police to finalise the names of politicians to be released in the first phase. Those who “pose the least threat to the law and order situation” will taste freedom first.

PC leader Imran Ansari, also a former Minister in the PDP-BJP regime, will be among the first to be released as he has complained of “ill-health.” Mr. Ansari, who is also a prominent Shia priest, will be allowed to attend the ‘Shia tazia’ (commemoration) gathering on the occasion of Muharram, the Islamic calendar’s first month, which starts next week. The police report suggests there are fears that the Muharram procession “may turn into an anti-India protest this time”.

Meanwhile, the authorities lifted restrictions from 12 more police station areas in Kashmir as a spontaneous shutdown continued for the 23rd day on Tuesday.

Mr. Ansari would be key to preventing such a situation. Many Shia priests will be called in the coming days “to seek their assurances on the law and order situation.”

The police sources said prominent “ailing and ageing leaders” of the regional parties may be considered first for release from detention. NC’s Ali Muhammad Sagar, a former legislator and minister, and PDP’s Nayeem Akhatr, also a former legislator and minister, were being considered for release in the first batch. However, former chief ministers, NC’s Omar Abdullah and PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, are unlikely to be released in the first phase, “on account of fears of eruption of protests.”

More than 173 mainstream leaders and activists have been arrested in the clampdown.

The Hindu has been able to access official data on the detention of legislators, former Ministers and party leaders. 

Around 70 leaders from the NC, 79 from the PDP, 12 from the PC and 12 from the Congress are under detention in Kashmir Valley. Around 30 are put up inside the Centaur hotel, declared a sub jail, and many remain detained inside their houses.

 

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:11:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/process-begins-to-free-jk-political-leaders-in-phases/article29271900.ece

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