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Kashmir lawyers protest over plight of detainees

Srinagar, March 19, 2008:

Lawyers in Indian administered Kashmir Wednesday staged a demonstration against the plight of detainees in Indian jails and demanded their transfer to Kashmir.

The lawyers marched along the busy Residency Road in summer capital Srinagar, shouting slogans against India.

The lawyers, who had chained themselves, were also raising slogans against right wing Hindu groups, responsible for recent attack on lawyers in Jammu.

On Monday a delegation of Kashmir High Court Bar Association on its visit to jails in Jammu province was attacked by activists of Hindu extremist group Shiv Sena and members of Hindu Parsharam Youth Club outside Kotbalwal jail.

The delegation led by Bar President Nazir Ahmad Ronga alleged that the goons were hired by police to prevent lawyers form visiting the jail.

The activists prevented the lawyers from entering the jail premises.

The Bar is on a strike over the issue for the last two days, demanding action against Superintendent Kotbalwal jail and hindu activists.

“Attack on visiting Bar delegation is clear indication that the treatment meted out to the detainees in outside jails is not fair. The government has something to hide, otherwise it won’t have attacked the lawyers,” said a lawyer in the protest.

The Bar Association has obtained orders from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to visit jails in New Delhi, Rajasthan, Jodhpur, Kathua, Ampala, Udhampur and many other prisons to assess the situation of the Kashmiri detainees.

However Bar has decided to continue with its jail visit programme and have said that such threats would not lower their pledge to fight for the rights of Kashmiri detainees.

The Kashmir High Court Bar Association is contemplating to file a petition in the High Court seeking transfer of Kashmiri detainees from outside prisons into the Valley jails.

Meanwhile, the moderate faction of Kashmiri separatist alliance Hurriyat Conference also took out a procession to protest attack on lawyers and plight of Kashmiri detainees.



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