J&K leaders refuse to sign release bonds
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has opened channels of communication with 32 detained political prisoners of the regional parties, but put riders on their release. Meanwhile, two leaders, Jammu and Kashmir People Democratic Front’s Hakeem Yaseen and Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Mohammad Ashraf Mir, were released on Monday, indicating a move to release the leaders in a phased manner.
In the past 10 days, a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM)-level officer visited senior leaders of the National Conference (NC), the PDP, the Peoples Conference (PC) and the J&K Peoples Movement (J&KPM) more than three times and discussed ways and means to ensure their release.
The officer, sources said, “insisted on abiding by the administration’s suggestion to sign bonds in lieu of their release.”
Senior officials confirmed to The Hindu that NC’s top leader Ali Muhammad Sagar, a former legislator and minister; PDP’s Naeem Akhar, a former legislator and minister; PC chief Sajad Lone, a former legislator and minister, and J&K PM chief Shah Faesal, an IAS topper who quit his job join politics earlier this year, “have repeatedly refused to sign a bond for their release.”
Mr. Sagar and Mr. Akhtar, sources said, told the government point man that such bonds were aimed at “curtailing the rightful political space of regional players, discredit the local leadership in front of the eyes of the locals and were being publicised later only to add to the political vacuum post August 5.”
All these leaders were detained and taken into preventive detention on August 5 under Section 107, Section 109 and Section 117 of the Cr.PC. The bonds, which the leaders were being asked to sign, reads: “He/she will not make any comment or issue statement or make public speeches or participate in the public assembly related to recent events…for a period of one year from the date of signature of the bond.”
The move by the authorities to release NC leader Mubarak Gul for a night on Saturday on parole to meet his ailing sister has failed to break the ice with the regional leaders, “who have put up a joint front inside the sub-jail of MLA Hostel in Srinagar.”
However, sources said Mr. Lone’s plea to meet his mother was turned down by the authorities. Meanwhile, Mr. Yaseen and Mr. Mir’s release is a signal that the officials negotiating have been able to make some headway.
A close relative of a senior NC leader said the government is not following legal procedure related to preventive detentions.
“To prolong detentions under Section 107, a preventive custody, these are supposed to be proven with witnesses and evidences, which has not taken place in most of these cases,” he said. However, officials insisted that such bonds were “a legal requirement to secure releases in such cases.”