Activists demand release of all political prisoners

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New Delhi, Mar 31 (UNI) Demanding the release of all political prisoners in the country, activists and intellectuals today claimed that the Government was targeting people and communities for raising voice against ''state repression''.

Participating in the inaugural conference of the 'Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners' here, they claimed that the government's approach to dub any issue of socio-economic and political significance as a ''law-and order'' question had made prisons the venues for discipling through torture, rape and humiliation.

Social activists Surender Mohan, Ajit Singh Bains, Milind Bhawar, Maulana Ataur Rehman Wajid, Shoma Sen, N Venuh, Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairperson Sayed Ali Shah Geelani, JNU professor Amit Bhattacharya and DU professor SAR Geelani besides others are participating in the two-day conference.

''To confine people or a community behind bars for the reason that they have refused to be oppressed, exploited and discriminated exposes the inability of the state to deal with its own limitations,'' said Prof Amit Bhattacharya.

''In the name of developmental projects, terrorism and law and order situation, scores of people are being made victims of state repression.... Illegal detention is being used as a tool by the state. It is also a clear sign that the State has lost the humanity that it claims to have for its citizens,'' he added.

He claimed that the country was in a ''deep economic crisis'' and said the weaker sections, particularly dalits, were still being exploited.

''Only a few rich people are getting richer and the poor are are not even able to manage two square meals a day because their lands have been snatched away in the name of Special Economic Zones,'' he added.

Stressing on the need for making concerted efforts to secure the release of political prisoners, Mr Sayed Ali Shah Geelani claimed that more than 1,000 Kashmiri's were languishing in various jails as ''political prisoners''.

''I myself am a victim of state repression.... I was in jail for 14 years for voicing my opinion on Jammu and Kashmir. The Government has backtracked on the holding a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir,'' the pro-Pakistan separatist leader said.

''This forum must work towards securing the release of the prisoners...its work is not should not be limited only to India,'' he added.

Justice Bains said it was a ''shame'' that India was being sold in the form of special economic zones and people resisting that were being tortured in jails.

''In the name of development, India is being looted and plundered for her forest and mineral wealth.... Corruption is rampant from top to bottom in police force, bureaucracy and judiciary as well,'' he alleged.

''Live of all the political prisoners must be saved,'' he added.

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