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J&K's R-Day gift: 18 detainees released

January 24, 2004 17:02 IST

As a part of efforts to restore peace in the state, Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday released 18 detainees and said more would be released on the occasion of Eid early next month.

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed said the release of the detainees had nothing to do with the talks between the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani on Thursday in New Delhi.

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Sayeed on Saturday met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee along with other members of the Indian Haj delegation.

The Hurriyat leaders, during their path breaking meeting with Advani, had requested for release of detainees languishing in jails for several years.

The chief minister said: "We should not keep our people in jails as democracy is a battle of ideas...we have been taking
this step as part of confidence-building measures."

He, however, made it clear that those involved in serious offences would not be considered for release.

In response to the Hurriyat demand for a check on human rights violations in the state, Sayeed said: "We too want that
there should be no human rights abuses. We are making our forces more accountable for every action and it is our sincere endeavour to check all kinds of human rights violation."

When his reaction was sought on Hurriyat's demand to visit Pakistan, Sayeed said: "It is not an issue...people are coming and going on both sides of the border as part of people-to-people contact. Even we are sending an all-party legislators' goodwill delegation to Pakistan."


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Read about: The Road to Peace | Kargil Crisis

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