The head of the pro-Independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Yasin Malik has gone on an indefinite hunger strike to protest the "continuous detention" of separatist leaders and their supporters.
Malik, who is admitted in the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences for kidney ailment, has been in police custody ever since he called for a boycott of the assembly elections.
The separatist leader has said the police were torturing and harassing his fellow workers.
JKLF vice-chairman Showkat Bakshi said three JKLF workers, Ishfaq Ahmad, Adil Ahmad and Faisal Aslam, have been tortured "brutally" by the police and the youth have suffered multiple fractures.
"The SHO and SP of their area tortured these youth personally," Bakshi alleged.
He said Malik was forced to go on a hunger strike by "the police atrocities against residents of Maisuma (JKLF hub where Malik lives) and the continuous detention of separatist leaders".
"Police keep fathers hostage for their sons, and similarly political workers are being called to police stations where they are being brutally tortured," Bakshi further alleged.
Several top-rung separatist leaders were rounded up in the run up to the assembly polls a month ago by the police. Police say they have started to release the more than a thousand separatists and their activists as the voting has now ended.
Many leaders have been let off, but Malik continues to remain under detention. Malik has applied for a bail.
The hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, headed by Syed Ali Geelani, has also demanded the release of separatist leaders including Malik and Masarat Alam.
"Anybody may come to power in the state, yet all matters regarding J&K will always be decided by the advisers of prime minister Narendra Modi," said Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar.
"Amnesty International and human rights organisations should take note of the conditions of Kashmiri prisoners and use influence in ending their detention," Akbar added.