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Apni Party Forms Committees for Release of Jailed Kashmiri Youth

Anees Zargar |
Party also announced legal help to families of Kashmiri youth jailed in J&K and other regions.

Srinagar: Altaf Bukhari-led Apni Party has said that it will provide legal help to the families of the youth who have been jailed in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), including in jails outside the region, a party leader said.

During a presser in Srinagar on Tuesday, the party said they are planning to initiate a campaign to help release hundreds of detainees, many of whom are lodged in jails outside the union territory. The party has established two committees, in each of the Jammu and Kashmir provinces, assisted by legal teams to pursue the cases.

The party General Secretary Rafi Ahmad Mir, said, “we will study the cases of prisoners who have been kept behind bars in Jammu and Kashmir or outside. We will also meet the families of the prisoners so that the cases for their release are pursued vigorously.”

These committees will be headed by the party’s provincial president Mohammad Ashraf Mir in the valley and Manjeet Singh in Jammu.

The party leader added that they will pursue the release of alleged stone-pelters and political prisoners – irrespective of their political ideologies – and will also seek the release of those who have been imprisoned on the charges of suspected militant activities.

“We will look into the cases of each and every jailed individual. Some of them are arrested under Public Safety Act (PSA) and many of them might have completed their supposed jail term, and now they deserve to be released,” Mir told media.

The party has claimed that it will also approach the government review committee with these cases following which they will try to convince the government that the youth, arrested on alleged stone pelting charges, should be given a chance to lead a normal life with their families.

Mir added that the party would approach the courts, if required, and also bear the financial expenses for the legal proceedings.

The move by the Apni party, formed in March 2020- nine months after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A, comes ahead of the possibility of an election announcement in the region. The detention of youth in Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most pressing issues as hundreds have been detained since the revocation of Article 370. Many of these arrests under the Lt. Governor administration have been termed ‘arbitrary’ by the regional political leadership.

This year, around 500 persons have been booked under stringent laws, including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), with close to 100 from the Srinagar district alone. Amongst those detained are four journalists who have been booked under serious laws and are lodged in different jails. One of them is young Sajad Gul, who is
lodged in Uttar Pradesh’s Raebareli jail. 

Many of these families say that they are unable to meet financial expenses for legal courses. Apni party has urged, through a public notice, the families or relatives of jailed youth to come forward for legal assistance.

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