SRINAGAR: Iltija Mufti, daughter of former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has written a letter to Lt. Governor G.C. Murmu demanding the release of Kashmiri prisoners in jails across the country.
"As you're aware, thousands of Kashmiris. including my mother Ms. Mufti, ex-Chief Minister J&K have been jailed since 5th August. As the world prepares to battle the deadly COVID-19 (already declared a global pandemic by WHO), India in all likelihood has entered Stage 3 in which the virus spreads through community transmission.
"J&K has already reported four cases and the numbers will go up exponentially in the coming weeks," letter reads.
She said, "Since no known medication/vaccination for COVID-19 existed as yet, self isolation has emerged as the safest bet to fight the outbreak. Overcrowded jails and lack of healthcare therefore makes these detainees highly vulnerable to the deadly contagion.
"It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that prisons all over India might become the new epicentre of this epidemic."
Iltija Mufti further wrote: "Senior citizens over 65 and those with an underlying illness such as diabetes, hypertension and breathing issues are especially susceptible to COVID-19. There are hundreds of senior citizens from the valley battling multiple ailments across jails in the country. Some of these detainees come from humble families where the members haven't been able to afford a single trip to visit their sons and brothers lodged in jails outside Kashmir. You can well imagine their anxiety and concern in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
"Keeping in mind the aforementioned circumstances, I would like to request you to release all detainees immediately and allow them to return home. At a time when jails even in USA are releasing inmates, one fails to understand reluctance of GOI in freeing detainees jailed for the past eight months on trumped up charges.
"We are in the midst of an extraordinary medical situation and healthcare systems all over the world are collapsing. I urge you to consider my request. I'm sure you will agree the collective health and well being of each of these detainees overrides every other consideration/rationale for their detention," letter reads.