Kashmiri prisoners to be freed after signing 'gag order'

Silence for Freedom: Kashmiri political prisoners to be freed after signing 'gag order'
2 min read
21 October, 2019
Dozens of Kashmiri politicians were detained in New Delhi's move to revoke the region's autonomy. Now they must sign a bond of silence in exchange for their freedom.
Local Kashmiri politicians have been detained since August this year. [Getty]
In a move that openly violates the protection of free speech enshrined in the constitution, the Indian government is forcing political prisoners in Kashmir to sign a bond that will prevent them from speaking out against New Delhi’s move to revoke Kashmir’s autonomous status as a condition of their release, Indian media outlet The Telegraph reported. 

Two detained women were released on the condition that they sign a bond promising that they will not speak out against the conditions in Jammu and Kashmir (Indian administered Kashmir).

The bond states that they cannot “make any comment(s) or issue statement(s) or make public speech(s) hold or participate in public assembly(s) related to recent events in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, at the present time, since it has the potential of endangering the peace and tranquility and law and order in the state or any part thereof for a period of one year”.

Read more: 10 killed in fresh firing across Kashmir border

In addition, freed prisoners will be required to deposit Rs 10,000 (USD 140) as “surety”. Any violation will require them to pay a further Rs 40,000 (USD 565) and will also likely lead to their renewed detention.

Dozens of Kashmiri politicians, including high profile leaders and three former chief ministers, have been detained since August 5 when the Narendra Modi-led Indian government revoked the constitutionally guaranteed autonomy of the province.

Placed under a complete lockdown and communications blackout, Kashmiris have been prevented from opposing New Delhi’s decision. Some mobile services have since been restored.

Kashmiris have engaged in a civil disobedience to oppose the move, choosing to leaves their shops shut and not send their children to school, but it is unclear how long they can keep this up.

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