Srinagar: The J&K High Court has stayed execution of an order by Deputy Commissioner Shopian under Public Safety Act against Sarjan Ahmad Wagay or Sarjan Barkati, a charismatic crowd puller from south Kashmir whose solgans were raised by members of the opposition in the assembly on Monday.
The order by Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar followed the court’s directions to release Wagay from preventive custody in which he had been held on the orders of Deputy Commissioner Kulgam.
“It is provided that in case the detenue (Barkati) continues to be in preventive custody with the respondents (state authorities) in pursuance to the order of detention (by deputy Commisioner Kulgam), then he shall be released forthwith from preventive custody,” the court had said on December 27 while disposing of a petition filed by Barkati’s wife through advocate Mir Shafaqat Hussain, challenging the detention order against her husband.
The court’s order had followed perusal of a communication sent by the Special Secretary to Government, Home Department, to District Magistrate Kulgam on October 26 in which the DC Kulgam was informed that the detention order (No. 37/DMK/PSA/16 dated 01 October 2016) passed by him and under which Barakati was shifted to Kotbalwal jail had become “non-est (non-existent) in the eyes of law.”
Subsequently, in an order on December 30, the high court ordered the government to not execute a detention order dated 10.09.2016 (No.50/DMS/PSA/2016) passed by District Commissioner Shopian against Wagay.
The orders by the court followed submissions by advocate Shafaqat that the DC Shopian’s order, though approved by the government, had not been executed by the authorities and that Barkati was in custody at central jail under the orders of District Magistrate Kulgam, an order declared as ‘non-est’.
“Hence the (DC Shopian’s) order suffers from delay in execution and deserves to be set aside,” Shafqat argued, underling that Wagay, a 33-year-old Imam (cleric), had been deprived of his liberty without any ‘accord of law’.
“Hence the detention order deserves to be quashed and (Wagay) deserves to be compensated for illegal detention by the state authorities,” Shafqat said in the high court.
In her plea, Barkati’s wife had sought the high court’s directions to quash DC Shopian’s order and directions to release her husband from custody. She had also sought directions commanding the government to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for “illegally” detaining Wagay.
Sarjan Barkati, as he is better known, has a distinctive and impassioned style of sloganeering which has made him one of the most sought-after speakers in south Kashmir.
A resident of Reban Gainapora in Shopian district, Barkati’s anthems have become a rage in south Kashmir since the killing of Burhan Wani.
As per his dossier, Barakati had his early education at government High School Chitragam till Class 9 and thereafter he took admission in Adara Tehkikaat Islamia Anantnag for Islamic (religious) studies in the year 2000. He completed the course in 2006 and founded ‘Tehreek-i-Firar Atikaad’, a religious party.
“You are a Molvi/Khateeb of Hanfia Sect. Prior to present uprising in the Valley you have organized various religious congregations at many places in south Kashmir and delivered speeches on Jehad to provoke the people especially the youth against the Indian Territory,” the DC Shopian had said in his detention order.
“You also told the people that India has occupied the J&K State forcibly (and) as such it is obligatory for every Kashmiri Muslim to join the so-called Jihad and fight against the Indian forces for complete freedom of J&K State,” the highest civil officer of the district accused.
The DC accused that during the uprsing, Barakati attended a number of “Chalo Calls” and public rallies organised by resistance leaders at various places in Shopian. “You in the guise of Molvi of Hanfia/Atikaad Sect are provoking/instigating the public, especially the youth against the (government) forces and Police. You are playing a key role in mobilizing the youth for causing widespread and extensive disturbance to the public order,” the DC Shopian said in his detention order.