Bandipora strike enters 4th day, locals allege police seeking bribes for release of youth

Srinagar: Police in Bandipora district has been accused of demanding hefty bribes from parents to release youth arrested on charges of stone pelting in the north Kashmir district.
The locals told a locals news gathering agency CNS that “brokers” allegedly working for the police were demanding money from them to get their wards released from the lockups. Most of the brokers, they said, were associated with a particular political party.
“My son is in police lock-up. A ‘broker’ demanded Rs 30,000 from me for my son’s release. I am a poor man and could not afford such a hefty sum,” the man was quoted as saying.
Station House Officer(SHO) Bandipora Mushtaq Ahmed said that some people were misusing the name of police and trying to make money from the parents of the arrested youth. “We have arrested a broker who used to demand money from the parents of the arrested youth. We appeal people not to believe in any such types of persons,” he said.
He identified the ‘broker’ as Molvi Altaf Ahmed resident of Bagh Bandipora.
He said Altaf had tried to deceive many parents by posing as a broker for the police.
“He is in our custody and the fact is that his nephew is also in police custody. Why didn’t people ask him that if he was so influential then why he did not manage to get his nephew released,” Ahmed added.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in the main town for the fourth consecutive day today, even as seven youth were released after being granted bail by a local court. “Umar Riyaz Sheikh , Arif Rasool Mir, Sajad Ahmad Parra, Asif Showkat Hakim , Danish Maqbool Mir, Khalid Shafi Bohra and Bilal Ahmad Bhat were handed over to their parents and relatives after counseling,” a police spokesman said.
The Traders Federation Bandipora spearheading the protests from last four days reiterated that the shutdown would continue till all the youth are not released. The released boys have been identified as Umar Riyaz Sheikh , Arif Rasool Mir, Sajad Ahmad Parra, Asif Showkat Hakim , Danish Maqbool Mir, Khalid Shafi Bohra and Bilal Ahmad Bhat.
A member of Traders Federation Bandipora said that police should have no objection in releasing those youth through court orders against whom cases have been registered under various sections of law.
Meanwhile, Bar Association Bandipora boycotted court proceedings on Monday against the detention of youth. Bandipora Bar Association president while supporting the shutdown call given by Traders Federation have asked police to ensure unconditional release of the detained youth. The Bar has threatened to come on roads if police did not release the youth.