Sopore: Tawseef Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Gund Brath in Sopore, was jailed in August on sedition charges by Chhattisgarh police. He was released three months later in November from central jail of Durg in Chhattisgarh. Since then, he has been living at his home in Sopore and says that he will not go to ‘India’ again.
Tawseef was arrested on the night of August 2 after activists of Bajrang Dal complained to police against a post on his Facebook wall which displayed a cartoon of a broom shooing away a mouse that was rendered in the colours of the Indian flag. The caption read, “Go India Go Back”.
Tawseef Ahmad, 25, who did an MBA from Chhattisgarh and was employed in a mobile phone company until he was arrested, now sits unemployed in his home in Gund Brath. His father Ghulam Ahmad said that his son had lost much weight in the three months in jail.
“I was picked up by police of Motilal police station from Sagar railway station. When I was in the police vehicle, I asked them on what charges they were arresting me. Instead of telling my crime, they asked me, ‘what have you done? We got orders from higher officials to arrest you’,” Tawseef told Reader.
“After reaching Motilal police station, I was chained and tied to one of the tables for the whole night. No one told me my crime. On the second day, a police team arrived and told me that I had been arrested for writing against the Indian state on my Facebook wall. Print-outs of my Facebook wall were in their hands which they showed me. I was shocked to learn that someone can be arrested for writing or sharing something against the state,” Tawseef said.
His bail pleas were rejected twice in three months, one by a lower court, and the second by a session court. “It was really hard for us to fight for our son’s release in an alien state. When we applied for bail in the high court, it lay pending there for more than one month. Finally it was Justice Gautam Bhaduri who released my son’s bail orders,” Ghulam Ahmad told Reader.
Tawseef said that the post e was arrested for was just one of the posts uploaded by a Kashmir news agency.
“When I was first produced in court, the judge told me you have to go to jail, without hearing anything from my side. I was taken to central jail in Durg where I was kept in a separate cell for 20 days before I was produced again in court with a chargesheet. They didn’t let me meet my family until I was produced in court the second time, where my father told me we are doing our best and we will get you released very soon. The words of my father were my only hope in those difficult days,” Tawseef said.
“For those three months in jail, I was so afraid because I was the only Kashmiri in fourteen cells. Thanks to God, nobody harmed me there. I avoided even eye contact with the other prisoners,” Tawseef recalled.
“I still wonder if writing on Facebook was enough reason to destroy my career. I was the best performer in my office in Chhattisgarh. But now I am jobless and if I apply somewhere, they reject my application because of this charge, even in Kashmir,” Tawseef said.
“I am finding my life more difficult than in jail. No company is ready to give me a job. If I go out with my friends, my parents call me to come home, because they are still afraid for me.
I don’t want to go out of my Kashmir anymore. The people in India don’t accept you as their own. In colleges, offices and at other places, you are alien to them,” Tawseef said.
“It was the most difficult time in our life. We were affected mentally as well as financially to get our son released. Now we will not let him go out of our sight even if he is jobless,” Ghulam Ahmad said.
While I was coming out from Tawseef’s home, I saw people still coming to congratulate the family for their son’s release.