Govt to release 40 political J&K detainees

Published on Mar 23, 2006 03:24 PM IST

India will release 40 political detainees who have been held in prison in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Wednesday.

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None | ByReuters, Jammu

India will release 40 political detainees who have been held in prison in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Wednesday.

"Yes, we have decided to release 40 political detainees who committed minor offences," a senior police official, who did not wish to be named, said.

It was not clear what offences the 40 had been held for, nor how long they had been in prison. No date was announced for the release but officials said the process could take 3-4 days.

Special laws in the state, where terrorism has killed tens of thousands of people since 1989, make it easier for security forces to arrest, interrogate and hold suspects for 30 days, without bringing them to court.

There are more than 400 political detainees in jails across Kashmir and 77 foreign-born terrorists are in prisons in other parts of India, officials said.

The release of the prisoners comes after a conference last month in which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Kashmiri leaders the government would look into the issue of releasing some detainees.

Separatist parties have long demanded the release of political detainees, but the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella organisation grouping various separatist parties, has said they should all be released in one go, and not in batches.

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