STATE TIMES NEWS SRINAGAR: Welcoming release of former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) leader Mohammad Ashraf Mir on Wednesday demanded immediate release of all political detainees including former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti especially in light of COVID-19 outbreak in Jammu and Kashmir. In a statement issued here, Mir observed that confinement of hundreds of political detainees, who were put under preventive detention on mere suspicion after August 5, 2019, should be shifted back to Jammu and Kashmir from various states of the country. “The situation that has emerged after outbreak of COVID-19 warrants that these political detainees should be shifted to J&K and released immediately so that their families are not subjected to any further suffering on this account,” he demanded, adding that the government of India should review all such cases on compassionate grounds. The JKAP leader further demanded that former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and other detained political leaders, irrespective of their political affiliations, should be released forthwith to facilitate conducive political atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir. Mir also appealed to the people, especially his party cadre, to work together in these pressing times to fight spread of coronavirus that has engulfed the whole world. The JKAP leader appealed to the government of India to restore 4G mobile internet services in Jammu and Kashmir to help people communicate effectively with their near and dear ones, who are far away from their families. “There are hundreds of students and youth, who are living in different parts of the world in connection with their studies and livelihood. Their families are unable to communicate with them due to lack of high speed mobile internet services. 4G mobile internet services will also help people to stay indoors, as Government has ordered lockdown, besides following guidelines on real time basis,” Mir observed. The JKAP leader also urged J&K government to distribute free ration and other essential commodities including medicine among Below Poverty Line (BPL) families so that they are not compelled to violate government orders unnecessarily. “There is a vast chunk of population whose livelihood has been marred by COVID-19 restrictions. The government must reach out to such families in order to ensure their strict home confinement, a prerequisite to stem the spread of deadly virus,” he remarked.
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