STATE TIMES NEWSJammu: Two prominent Kashmiri leaders on Thursday advocated the release of all political detainees, including three former chief ministers, as a goodwill gesture on the Republic day. Ghulam Hassan Mir and Mohammad Dilawar Mir, both former ministers, also demanded the restoration of broadband services to mediapersons and traders besides compensation to those involved in the agriculture and horticulture sectors. “The country is celebrating the Republic Day (January 26) and the tradition has been the release of some detainees. Even some convicted persons used to get relief in the country on the occasion,” they said. “People are in preventive detention and it would be good if all of them, including the former chief ministers, are released as a goodwill gesture,” Hassan, who is the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Party Nationalist, told reporters here. He said some of the people, who are lodged in jails outside the Union Territory, should be brought back if their detention is imperative on security reasons. The duo, who was part of a group of former ministers and legislators led by Altaf Bukhari who met the Lt Governor G C Murmu early this month, also batted for the restoration of broadband services to mediapersons and businessmen. “At a time when the country is celebrating the Republic Day, the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be freed from the curb. We want to live a normal life,” Hassan said. Referring to their meeting with the Lt Governor on January 7, Hassan said the delegation submitted a memorandum on socio-political and economic interests of people. “After our meeting, we noticed some positive headway on some of our demands like the release of some political leaders and the youth lodged in outside jails,” he said. “The restoration of the Internet is the demand from both regions of Kashmir and Jammu and it should be made fully functional,” he said, adding reports of the restoration of the facility in Kashmir is not a reality. The leaders also asked the Union government to tell the positives that have emerged following the scrapping of the special status of J-K in August last year. In response to a question on the week-long public outreach programme by the BJP, he said, “We should not feel obsessed with it. If they have come on a visit, it is good and they will themselves see the ground situation. The question will be raised what they have done after their visit.” On the possibility of assembly elections, he said it is premature to talk about it at the moment because the assembly seats have to be increased in accordance with the reorganisation act. “Unless the delimitation commission is set and its report is submitted and accepted, the talk of elections is not right.”
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