REBAN (Shopian): Sarjan Barkati, whose slogans pulled massive crowds to pro-freedom rallies during the 2016 summer uprising, has been languishing in jail for the past one year and his poor wife, who has two little children to take care of, is fighting a lonely, dispiriting battle in courts for his release.
Shabroza Barkati told Kashmir Reader that whenever she went with her kids to see her husband in jail, the children were unable to sleep for several nights. “They weep all day and night after they have seen their father. Now they are refusing to go to school too,” she said of her two children, a 9-year-old daughter and a son who studies in Class 1.
“For me it is hard to handle these kids, because they have begun to miss their father terribly. What can I do now? He (Barkati) is in jail and I don’t have any hopes that the government will release him soon,” she said.
Shabroza said that Barkati was arrested by police on October 1, 2016, and on the 10th of that month he was jailed under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).
She said that despite the High Court having quashed the PSA detention order, Barkati has not been released. “They registered dozens of more cases against him. They accused him of participating in public gatheringsin which he was not even present,” she said.
Sugra, Barkati’s daughter, said, “I am unable to focus on my studies. There are so many things that I want to share with my father.”
Sugra studies at a nearby government school in Class 6.
Azan, Barkati’s son, is suffering from trauma, his mother said.
“I have no one except Allah. Whenever I have need of money, I pray. When people offer me assistance, I feel ashamed. We were living such a happy life when my husband was earning by delivering Friday sermons, addressing religious gatherings,” Shabroza said.
Shabroza said that for several months her father accompanied her to police stations and courts. “My father is not a rich person. He has to run his family affairs, too. You know the prevailing situation in Kashmir; every day there are encounters and cordons. I feel insecure living alone with my kids here,” she said.
Shabroza said that three times her husband was given bail by court, but each time he was re-arrested right outside the court.
“My husband was no militant, nor a resistance leader. He just participated in public gatherings and so did the millions of people in Kashmir. How should I handle my desperate children? Many times I have been short of money and have had to forcibly make my children be content with what they have,” she lamented.
She said that the pain of the children kills her from inside when she sees them weeping for their father.
Recently, on September 5, a Shopian court sent Barkati to police remand till September 14.
Sarjan Barkati shot to fame during the 2016 uprising. He was nick-named Pied Piper of South Kashmir because of the catchy slogans he recited at pro-freedom rallies.