J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti objects to torture of Kashmiri inmates in Tihar jail
New Delhi: A week after granting pardon to 4,500 stone pelters, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday spoke out strongly against the ill treatment of Kashmiri origin prisoners lodged in the national capital’s Tihar Jail.
“The acts of violence against Kashmiri prisoners in Tihar are reprehensible and strongly condemned. Have raised this issue with the Central government and asked for corrective measures,” Mufti said on Twitter.
The acts of violence against Kashmiri prisoners in Tihar are reprehensible and strongly condemned. Have raised this issue with the Central Govt and asked for corrective measures.— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 29, 2017
Mufti wrote to home secretary Rajiv Gauba on Tuesday, asking the Union home ministry to look into issue. Mufti was reacting to several complaints of alleged human rights violations and manhandling of Kashmiri prisoners in Tihar received by her office.
The sub text of Mufti’s interventions are her persistent outreach to the people of Kashmir in a bid to try and rebuild political bridges with the disaffected electorate and thereby create a more conducive environment for the ongoing peace dialogue.
“We have raised concerns over the manhandling of Kashmiri prisoners with the home secretary and we have been assured that the matter will be looked into. This is a cause of concern because the prisoners are being harmed and those responsible must be pulled up,” said a senior Jammu and Kashmir state government official, requesting anonymity.
Activists working closely with prisoners said minority prisoners are subject to increased brutality in prisons.
“Mostly the minority prisoners are beaten up and manhandled by other convicts and the jail authorities look the other way. This is a rampant issue across all prisons in India,” said Ritu Kumar, advocate and coordinator at the Human Rights Law Network, a Delhi-based legal support body that works closely with prison inmates.
Mufti on 23 November ordered the withdrawal of cases against 4,500 stone-pelters who were first time offenders.
The move, the state government said, was taken after the centre’s interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma’s visit to the state on 6 November.
According to the state government’s order, the panel has been tasked with the responsibility of looking into and withdrawing cases “against youth for the period 2015-2017 (till date) and review cases against youth for the 2008-2014 period.”
Experts said the chief minister’s proactive response to the plight of Kashmiris is unprecedented and aimed at reducing the chasm between the people and government.
“There is a huge gap between the people of the state and the Central and State governments. Nobody has ever attempted to bridge the gap. These policies will take time to implement but it can certainly instill more confidence in the people that the government is serious about them,” said Ellora Puri, assistant professor of political science at Jammu University.
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