PDP President Mehbooba Mufti on Friday appealed to PM Modi to release all political prisoners in jails in and outside of Jammu and Kashmir, given the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.
"Throughout the world, most countries have released prisoners on parole in view of the alarming COVID crisis. A democratic and civilised country like India shouldn't drag its feet and must release these detainees immediately so that they can return home at a time when life feels so threatened," Mehbooba wrote in a letter to the prime minister.
"It's an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that doesn't discriminate on the basis of caste, colour, religion or social status and has affected everyone. Perhaps the only silver lining in this tragic time is how Indians cutting across religious and regional lines are coming together to lend each other a helping hand," she said, adding that she did not wish to "politicise the human tragedy".
"As far as Kashmir is concerned, it is no secret that hundreds, or maybe thousands of detainees and political prisoners arrested since August 2019 continue to languish in jails both in and outside J-K. Most of them are detained under preventive laws and don't face any prosecution. Many continue to be held even after courts granted them bail. Most recent reminder of the lurking threat to their lives is Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai's death who lost his life because he contracted COVID in jail and was deprived of medical care," she added. Mufti further hopes that Modi would give due consideration to the matter and order the release of detainees.