Relatives of jailed politicians queue up outside prison

Relatives of jailed politicians queue up outside prison

Relatives of jailed Kashmiri politicians have been making beelines outside Centaur subsidiary jail, here, for the past four days after the government allowed them to meet the incarcerated family members.

Before being allowed inside the forfeited hotel, on the banks of Dal lake, each visitor has to write an application to the jail superintend to seek permission for the meeting. Over 50 high profile politicians, which include former ministers and legislators, are lodged inside the hotel-turned-jail for the last three weeks. 

After the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir state into two union territories, most of the regional party leaders, including three former chief ministers, have been either jailed or put under house arrest.

An official wishing anonymity said that jailed politicians are brought out from their rooms into the lobby of the hotel for an ‘open meeting’ with their relatives after permission from the jail superintend, who is a Dy SP level officer. “The meeting is allowed as per the jail manual and a strict watch is being kept on every visitor and his activities during his stay inside the jail compound,” he said.

Some of the leaders who are lodged inside, include former ministers Ali Mohammad Sagar, Sajjad Lone, Imran Ansari, Ashraf Mir and former legislators Nizam-ud-Din Bhat, Ishfaq Jabbar and Yasir Reshi.

On Sunday afternoon two women, a child and an elderly man came out of an SUV which stopped at the entrance of the hotel, which has been declared as sub-jail, to meet their jailed relative. The man enquired from the security personnel whether fruits are allowed to be taken in. 

After the nod, the man brought out an apple box which he had brought for his jailed son, a politician from north Kashmir. The family was also seen carrying clothes for the jailed leader. However, after coming out, they refused to speak to the reporters and declined to be identified.

Another person, a confidante of a senior politician had brought cigarettes for his leader, but was told that it won’t be allowed to be taken inside. Barely half an hour later another family arrived to meet their jailed relative. Besides, fruits and clothes, one of the women was seen carrying some books in her hand.

“I have bought some books for my father, who is an avid reader. I can feel his pain as living in a jail is a torture,” she told DH.

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