Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayyar and other members of the Hindi-Pak Dosti Manch along with the Folklore Research Academy have appealed to the governments of India and Pakistan to ensure the security of prisoners lodged in jails on either side of the border.
In separate communiques to home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Pakistan's high commissioner in India, Salman Bashir, the two civil society organisations have expressed shock over and condemned the brutal murder of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh in a Lahore jail. In the same breath, they have also condemned the attack on Sanaullah, a Pakistani national, in Jammu jail.
In the letters, the two organisations pointed out that such attacks on prisoners in high-security jails speak a lot about the security arrangements. The attack on Sanaullah took place even after the Indian home ministry had issued directives to all the state governments to strengthen the security for Pakistani prisoners following attack and subsequent death of Sarabjit Singh in Kot Lakhpat jail, the communique stated.
Reminding about Mahatma Gandhi's view that 'an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind', the two bodies hoped that the guilty in the two attacks on either side of the border be punished so that similar incidents did not take place in future.
They also suggested that top officials of both the governments must sit together and draw up a plan to ensure the security of prisoners.
"This is also the time to discuss and resolve the prisoners' issue in general and, in particular, of those who inadvertently cross international borders like fishermen, prisoners with minor offences and juveniles. They need to be released and repatriated unconditionally and immediately on humanitarian grounds. Such act will be the biggest confidence building measure (CBM)," the letters suggested.
Besides Nayyar, other signitorites include journalist Satnam Singh Manak and Jatin Desai, Folklore Research Academy president Ramesh Yadav, Dr Charanjiit Nabha, Gurdev Singh Mehlawala and Ranjiv Sharma.