Srinagar, March 21 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, family members of detainees and human rights activists have demanded the immediate release of the Kashmiri prisoners lodged in different jails in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has gripped the entire world.

Since repeal of special status of occupied Kashmir in August, last year, thousands of people have been illegally detained hundreds of them under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).

Kashmiri youth are frequently arrested and put behind the bars for holding peaceful anti-India protest demonstration.

The outbreak of the coronavirus has prompted families of the detainees to double down on their pleas for their children to return home.

Human rights activists have also urged the Indian government to release the Kashmiri detainees on humanitarian grounds, while Human Rights Watch contended that the epidemic could put the prisoners’ lives at stake.

A mother of a prisoner said that the authorities should release her son amid the coronavirus outbreak. “Day in and day out we are living in fear following the coronavirus pandemic. Only a mother knows what separation from a child means to her,” said the mother, whose son has been lodged in Ambedkar Nagar jail in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

“Amid the plague, we are having sleepless nights, please have mercy on us,” another mother of a Kashmir detainee said.

Families have expressed concerns that the jails are overcrowded and that their children are vulnerable to getting infected with the coronavirus due to unhealthy conditions in the jails.

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