Beehama: A man said to be mentally unfit and “innocent as a child” has been booked under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) by police in Beehama village of Ganderbal district. Mohammad Abdullah Malla, 43, is now lodged in Udhampur Jail. His wife Naseema said that her husband was innocent, a claim that residents of Beehma seconded.
“He was a labourer who had never taken part in any protests, let alone stone-pelting,” Nassema said, referring to the police claim that Abdullah had pelted policemen with stones. “So many uprisings took place in Kashmir, but Abdullah never took part in them. He had stayed aloof even during the ‘90s,” Naseema said.
Ganderbal SSP Imtiaz Ismail told Kashmir Reader that Abdullah had led protests on at least three occasions and hence was booked under PSA. But the village head of Beehama said that he can swear by Abdullah’s innocence. “I can tell you with assurance that Abdullah never participated in any protests, in fact, every single soul of this area can testify that Abdullah is innocent. He was as innocent as a child,” the village head said.
Locals said the same about Abdullah. They said that Abdullah suffered from mental deficiency and his actions in the past, which people in Behama had witnessed, proved this.
Abdul Rahim, an octogenarian resident of Beehma and a “well respected” man, had this to narrate: “In the early ‘90s, Abdullah burnt down his own auto, and rather than mourning he rejoiced as the documents of the auto were not in the vehicle.”
Rahim said that Abdullah had gone to check the engine of his auto carrying a candle in his hand. “There was leakage of oil, and Abdullah went beneath the auto with the candle, due to which the auto caught fire and was burnt,” Rahim said.
When the locals scolded Abdullah for his carelessness, Abdullah reminded them that the documents of his vehicle were undamaged. “Kenh chuna kagaz chi thik (Don’t worry, the documents are safe),” Abdullah had told locals with his trademark laughter.
“Who on earth goes near inflammable oil with a candle? And who would rejoice after destroying their own property? It is sad that a person like him has been booked under the draconian law,” Rahim said.
A resident of Beehama compared Abdullah’s mental state with that of Hrithik Roshan in the movie Koi Mil Gaya. “He was an adult but his mind was like of a child,” he said.
Expressing concern over Abdullah’s incarceration, the local said, ”He has a young family and it will be extremely hard for them to fight the case. I hope somebody intervenes.”