SC fixed Pak-1965 war prisoners’ case for final hearing in September
A Division Bench of the Supreme Court of India comprising JJ Mr. P. Sathasivam and Justice Mr. Ranjan Gogoi today ordered that the case of four Pakistani prisoners allegedly detained in J&K during the 1965 war shall be heard in September this year. The Supreme Court made this order after hearing the arguments of Prof. Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate appearing for the J&K State Legal Aid Committee. The State Legal Aid Committee has filed a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking the release of four prisoners of war namely,
1). Alam Sher, s/o Bagga, arrested on 6.9.1965 and lodged in District Jail, Jammu, 2). Brakat Hussain, s/o Said Muhammad arrested on 6.9.1965 and lodged in District Jail, Jammu, 3). Sakhi Muhammad, s/o Lal Din, arrested on 6.9.1965 and lodged in District Jail, Jammu and 4). Abdul Aziz, s/o Dost Muhammad arrested in 1967.
The State Legal Aid Committee headed by Prof. Bhim Singh had filed this writ of habeas corpus invoking the intervention of the Supreme Court within the meaning and scope of Article 21 of the Constitution of India which, Prof. Bhim Singh said is the soul of entire nerve system on Human Rights. This petition was filed on the basis of affidavits of the close relatives of the detenus, which were duly attested by (Muhammad Razak son of Sakhi Muhammad, Mrs. Fateh Begum w/o Bagga Khan, Mohammad Basir, s/o Brakat Hussain and Mohammad Ayyub, nephew of Alam Sher).
The Supreme Court in their order dated 9.7.2012 had stated that the letter written by the Dy. Inspector (Prisons) Department, J&K and the Principal Secretary (Home) were contradictory. The Dy. Inspector General (Prisons) in his reply/letter dated 21.11.2011 had admitted that the four prisoners mentioned above were arrested and detained in Jammu District Jail as mentioned above. On the other hand in another letter dated 28.6.2012 written by Dy. Inspector General (Prisons) had mentioned that the earlier letter of the DIG (Prisons) dated 21.11.2011 was a communication from the Ministry of Home Affairs which has not been endorsed by the Govt. of J&K.
The Supreme Court in their observation that,
"On going through the contents of both the letters, we are not in a position to take a firm decision about the availability of those persons as stated in those letters. In order to ascertain the correctness of the same, we direct Union of India, Home Department and State of J&K to place the original records relating to the above two communications."
Prof. Bhim Singh made a strong plea before the court that the original documents relating to the Jail records as well as the communication of the Union Home Ministry in this regard deserves a scrutiny by this court so that the truth may come out. He argued that the mandate of Article 21 is applicable to every person irrespective of his citizenship or nationality. He said that the DIG Prisons has taken out the contents from the record of the prison which was called Central Jail Jammu in 1965 which later was named as District Jail. The Supreme Court assured that it shall satisfied itself on the issues raised by Prof. Bhim Singh on the final day of hearing. The court also directed the State counsel to circulate the documents to the petitioners counsel as well as to the counsel of Union of India.
Prof. Bhim Singh said that this is highly sensitive matter that the Govt. of J&K is trying to hush up the original record relating to the detention of the Pak war prisoners. The Pak prisoners were arrested in Poonch Sector when they were dropped by Pak war helicopters in 1965. This intrusion of Pakistan led to a major war between India and Pakistan. The Tashkent Agreement signed between India and Pakistan had also assured the repatriation of all war prisoners. He said that he is sure to get justice in the Supreme Court to the Pak prisoners and their eagerly waiting families in POK.