November 1998 News

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Shabir Shah Invites Other Groups to Hold Protest for Kashmiri Prisoners

19th November 1998
Press Release

Srinagar - Shabir Shah, President of the pro-independence JKDFP, has announced his plans to hold a protest on Saturday to demand the release of all Kashmiri prisoners and to demand that the prison conditions be brought to basic humanitarian standards. The plight of prisoners is one of the JKDFP's key issues for its humanitarian program.

Shabir Shah last month announced a program to work for the freedom of the thousands of Kashmiris in jail and in the mean-time to work for the improvement of their conditions. To this end, Shah has appointed a task-force made up of lawyers, writers, doctors, and political workers to work specifically on this issue. Shah has vowed that this effort will be strengthened and that he will try to involve each and every person in Kashmir in this campaign until last political prisoner walks out the door.

Shah has termed such efforts to save the Kashmiri youth in prisons to be above all party differences. Today, he reiterated this opinion and he invited any other leader or group to join him on Saturday to call for the release and rights of Kashmiri prisoners.

Shabir Shah said: "I am sure that all Kashmiris will put aside any political difference and unite on this issue. It should be an effective and urgent effort - and that is precisely what we are going to push for. This is a necessary step in our quest for survival as a free nation."

In today's statement, Shah expressed his outrage at the condition of the thousands of Kashmiri prisoners held in Indian jails. He explained that there are thousands of Kashmiri youth who have been held illegally without charges or any judicial authority.

Shabir Shah, himself a person who has spent his years inside Indian prisons because of his political views, explained:

"I have experienced first-hand the conditions inside these prisons. It is appalling and depressing. Prisoners are held in dark, crowded, cells without any proper ventilation. And their detention has lasted for years. Now that I am out of jail, my heart is filled with pain and frustration about our youth who are languishing in these jails. They feel as if their nation has forgotten them and they feel extreme loneliness. But behind the pain and suffering, you can clearly see the spark and yearning for freedom in all of their eyes. These prisoners are our responsibility as a nation. Because behind those steel doors are the youth of our nation. We have to do something about this important matter."


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