The Movement Against State Repression (MASR) and the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) on Monday expressed resentment over the "silence" of the Punjab government as well as the Centre over the ongoing fast of human rights activist Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa for nearly a month now, seeking the release of Sikh detenues who have completed their jail terms.
"The issue is a legal point that concerns everyone, not just Sikhs. When persons have served their sentences, they must be released. Keeping them in prison amounts to illegal detention and makes a mockery of the rule of law," Inderjit Singh Jaijee of MASR and Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retd) said in a joint statement here.
They mentioned a 20-year-old news report (August 8, 1994) of an English daily in which Ranganath Misra, the first chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, was quoted as saying that the number of TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act) and then replaced by the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) prisoners had increased to 47,000 in just three states as of July 1994.
"This very large figure implies that persons were held in other states also under TADA that was succeeded by the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and then replaced by the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, that is more draconian," they said.