As a goodwill gesture ahead of the forthcoming Eid-ul-Azha festival, a group of mainstream politicians in Jammu and Kashmir has demanded release of the political prisoners lodged in various jails of the state for minor offences.
The group, after a meeting here on Saturday, said hundreds of youth, in jails for minor offences for the last few years, should be released under general amnesty, and as a goodwill gesture in a bid to improve the ground situation in Kashmir.
"We unanimously demand release of political prisoners lodged in various jails of J&K in reverence to the forthcoming festival of Eid," the group, that included CPI(M) MLA M Y Tarigami, among others, said in a statement.
Besides Tarigami, the other group leaders included Peoples Democratic Front president Hakim Mohammad Yasin, former MP and National Democratic Front president Abdul Rashid Kabuli, former MP and state SP chief Sheikh Abdul Rehman, CPI leader Abdul Rehman Tukru and LJP leader Sanjay Saraf.
"We are receiving numerous requests from relatives and families whose near and dear ones are languishing in various jails.
They want to cherish the forthcoming Eid festival with their kith and kin who are presently in jails. The government must understand the sensitivities involved and release all political prisoners under an amnesty plan," they said.
The group also alleged that the "Public Safety Act has been grossly misused against political prisoners by repeatedly booking them on one pretext or the other."
Expressing concern over health of some of the inmates, the leaders said prisoners with serious ailments should be released on compassionate grounds.
They said the cases against youths, who have been booked for minor offences, should be withdrawn so that their career does not get marred.