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Growing Concerns for Political Prisoners of Kashmir amid Covid Pandemic in India

Monday 10 May 2021
Growing Concerns for Political Prisoners of Kashmir amid Covid Pandemic in India

The Indian-administered Kashmir witnessed the death of one of its prominent pro-freedom leaders in an Indian-run jail this week.

Ashraf Sehrai's death has raised concerns about the scores of political prisoners languishing in Indian prisons as the country combats a fresh surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.

That’s amid testimonies by members of the 78-year-old’s family who said he died due to lack of health care and improper prison conditions after he tested positive for coronavirus.

Now families of other political prisoners fear they could also face Sehrai’s fate. The father of the 19-year-old Sehar Shabbir has spent 33 years of his life in different Indian detention centers. Shabir Shah is in prison for actively supporting Kashmir’s right to self determination.

Sehar’s father is among scores of Kashmiris who are imprisoned for supporting the region’s independence from India. They are incarcerated under India’s Public Safety Act, a preventive detention act that authorizes detention of any person for up to three months without a trial; and the detention period is extendable.

Rights groups say the law has often been exploited to keep pro-independence fighters behind the bars. Human rights activist Ashan Untoo was also jailed recently. He says the central government has made it difficult to bail prisoners out.

Due to the raging pandemic, last year, India’s top court handed the decision to release prisoners on interim bail to powerful state committees. Around 45,000 prisoners were released under the guidelines; however not many were from among Kashmiri political prisoners.

Source: Press TV

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India Kashmir

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Activists in France, Sweden Hold Pro-Palestine Rally

Activists in France, Sweden Hold Pro-Palestine Rally