Scores of nationalist parties’ activists and lawyers continued protest on the fourth day here on Wednesday for the release of two Indian-held Kashmir residents and their local host.
Local authorities detained Friday last two visiting peace activists and their local host and sent them to Mirpur jail on the charges of travelling to Mirpur without valid travel documents.
Sardar Devindher Singh Bhal, Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Social Peace Forum, his associate Vijay Abrol and Sardar Arif Shahid, president, Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Conference were taken into custody by police at Mangla and sent to jail. They were going back to Rawalpindi after visiting Mirpur.
Leaders of various Kashmiri nationalist groups including Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front’s President Advocate Nasir Ansari and Advocate Azeem Dutt, president District Bar Association Arshad Malik, Jammu and Kashmir National Liberation Conference leaders Ramzan Dutt, Secretary Jammu & Kashmir Peoples National Party and others led the protest demonstration seeking the release of all the detainees and withdrawal of cases against them.
Addressing the protesters, they asserted that the Foreign Act 14 of 1946 did not apply on the citizens of the State of Jammu and Kashmir from both sides of the Line of Control during visit to either parts of the disputed state on the visa issued by India or Pakistan.
They alleged that despite the unequivocal directives by the AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, the Mirpur district administration was dragging its foot in releasing the detainees.
The AJK Prime Minister had ordered Mirpur Deputy Commissioner to release the detainees.
The protesters’ leaders later met the Deputy Commissioner with the demanded immediate release of the detainees.
When contacted, Mirpur jail authorities told this correspondent that they have not yet received any formal order from the local authorities for the release of the detainees.
Visa for the two Indian nationals were valid only for Kotli and Muzaffarabad as well as Lahore and Rawalpindi to attend a meeting hosted by Kashmiri nationalist parties on Friday last.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2013.