Kashmiri Leader Says Jailed Leaders are Prisoners of Conscience

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Srinagar, May 31: Senior Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani Tuesday said the detained separatist leaders and activists were not criminals but prisoners of conscience and demanded their unconditional and immediate release.

“The Kashmir dispute is political as well as a humanitarian issue. Kashmiri political activists and leaders incarnated in jails are prisoners of conscience and not criminals. Detaining these respected and responsible citizens merely on the basis of their political ideology is a grave human rights violation,” Geelani said.

He said although the Government of India has to take the decision regarding their release but the Kashmir government has stooped to such levels of indifference that it is not even willing to consider this issue.

He appealed Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other international rights groups to use their influence for securing the release of political activists, leaders and youth .

Earlier, Geelani visited the residence of detained separatist leader ‘General’ Moosa and enquired about the health of his ailing mother. “When his father Moulana Sidiq was killed, General Moosa was in jail and now when his ailing mother is lying on the death bed, the authorities are hell bent on keeping behind bar,” he said adding no criminal charges have been leveled against him.

He said a youth from Srinagar, Manzoor Ahmad was not released even as his father and wife passed away while he remained in jail for the past one and a half years. “The government has adopted a “stone-hearted and cruel” approach on the issue of political prisoners’ release,” he added.