Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022
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Setting Free The Bugbears

The new government starts by meeting one of its pre-poll promises. Can it deliver on the rest? More Coverage

Setting Free The Bugbears
AP
Setting Free The Bugbears
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Last week, the Mufti took the first step in that direction. In keeping with his pre-poll promise, the new chief minister announced the release of a few political prisoners, some incarcerated without trial for over a decade and others frequent 'guests of the state'. The most prominent among them was Yasin Malik, enfant terrible of Kashmir's azadi brigade and JKLF chairman. And while the cases of the Jamaat-e-Islami's Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Sheikh Abdul Aziz of the People's League were kept pending, those who tasted freedom included several others held as hardcore terrorists during the decade-long separatist violence. Almost as if to herald this policy of leniency, on the eve of the Mufti's swearing-in itself, a Srinagar court had let off JKLF leader Showkat Bakshi, the main accused in the kidnapping of his daughter Rubaiyya in December 1989.

Also on the list of those released—via instruments like parole, as in Malik's case—were former JKLF commander Nazir Ahmed Sheikh and top Hizbul terrorist Mohammed Ayub Dar. On November 14, four more were freed: Bashir Ahmed Bhat of the JKLF, Sheikh Abdul Rashid and Pervaiz Ahmed Dar of the Hurriyat and Abdul Rahim Wani, a district president of the Mufti's own People's Democratic Party (PDP). It would appear that this list will be fairly long by the time the "healing touch" exercise is complete.

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