Kashmiri political prisoners facing illegal detention, isolation in Indian jails

Over four thousand Kashmiris, including All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leaders, human rights activists, journalists, youth, students and ulema have been facing illegal detention in jails of India and Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir for demanding their inalienable right to self-determination and raising the issue of human rights violations by Indian troops in the territory.

According to a report released by Kashmir Media Service, today, most of these detainees including women have been slapped with draconian laws, Public Safety Act (PSA) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and have been kept in complete isolation in the jails.

Among these detainees some are residents of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, who had mistakenly crossed over the Line of Control (LoC) on different occasions.

It has been learnt that as part of the BJP-RSS regime’s vindictive policy, more Hurriyat leaders, activists and youth have been shifted from IIOJK to far-off jails inside India. The cruel move, the report said, is aimed at breaking their commitment to the ongoing freedom movement as well as hurting the families of the detainees emotionally and financially.

It is worth mentioning here that the BJP-led Indian regime has killed many imprisoned Kashmiri youth in staged encounters.

Senior leaders of APHC including Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and Altaf Ahmed Shah also died during their incarcerations. Even a mentally challenged resident of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Tabarak Hussain, who had inadvertently crossed over the Line of Control in Rajouri district was not spared and killed in the custody of the Indian army.

Earlier, another resident from AJK’s Rawalakot, Zia Mustafa, who had mistakenly crossed over the LoC on January 13, 2003 was arrested and later killed in the custody of Indian occupation forces. At that time, the family members of Zia had lodged a missing report at a local police station. Zia Mustafa, an under-trial prisoner, who was in judicial custody, was taken out of Kot Bhalwal jail, Jammu, and killed in a fake encounter near the LoC in October 2021.

The report also highlighted the continued illegal detentions of Kashmiri journalists, including Asif Sultan, Fahad Shah, Irfan Mehraj and Sajad Gul and prominent human rights defenders, including Khurram Pervaiz.

Meanwhile, the Hurriyet leaders, while demanding the release of all political prisoners have appealed to the international community to increase pressure on India to give Kashmiris their inalienable right to self-determination and resolve the Kashmir dispute.

By Ch Fahad Khan Janda