The Jammu and Kashmir administration released 16 people detained under the Public Safety Act, and five convicts, from Srinagar Central Jail on Monday, Greater Kashmir reported.

The move is an effort to stop the coronavirus from spreading inside prisons in the Union Territory. There have been 270 cases of Covid-19 in Jammu and Kashmir so far, including four deaths, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Countrywide, there have been 10,363 cases of Covid-19, including 339 deaths, 1,035 recoveries and one migration.

“We revoked the detention orders of 16 persons and ordered their immediate release,” Jammu and Kashmir Home Department officials said. “They were set free on parole after their cases were scrutinised by the high-powered committee.”

The officials said that there were 110 Public Safety Act detenues in Srinagar Central Jail. With the release of 16 of them, 94 are still locked up. Under the Public Safety Act, a person may be detained without trial for three to six years.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration had invoked the Act against many individuals, including top political leaders, when the Centre revoked the special status of the erstwhile state on August 5 last year under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and converted it into a Union Territory.

In March, former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah were released from detention under the Act. However, another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, is still under detention.