Verinag family knocks SHRC over ‘harassment’ by SOG, Army

Srinagar: A family from south Kashmir’s Verinag has approached the State Human rights Commission (SHRC) over alleged threat to their lives from the Special Operations Group (SOG) and army.
In the petition submitted to the Secretary SHRC here on Saturday, Peer Ghulam Nabi of Batagund village of Verinag has alleged that he and his family members were facing constant harassment and life threats by police and army ever since his eldest son Peer Farooq joined militancy in the ‘90s. He says that after Farooq’s death, SOG, Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC) Khanabal and army started to pester the family by frequently raiding their house and picking up his another son Mohammad Ashraf.
“Initially Mohammad Ashraf was being called to the JIC and army camp and was being questioned and tortured there. Due to repeated arrest and torture, Ashraf decided to stay at his relative’s house to avoid further harassment. The SOG and army continued to raid applicant’s house but could not arrest Ashraf,” says Ghulam Nabi, a prominent figure and a former Imam-e-Jamia, Verinag, in his petition which seeks urgent action by the human rights body to end the ‘continuous harassment’ by SOG and army.
The petitioner says that in 2006 his another son Firdous Ahmad was picked up in a raid by SOG and JIC Khanabal and detained illegally for his brother. “Firdous remained in illegal detention for more than two months during which he was severely tortured and was told to give information about his brother,” he says.
He says that during the detention Firdous repeatedly pleaded that Ashraf stayed outside home to avoid harassment. However, Ashraf, he says was arrested from the area and implicated in a false case.
“Ashraf was never involved any unlawful or militant activity but on the baseless charges he was booked under PSA. After Ashraf’s detention, Firdous was released by SOG JIC Khanabal after paying Rs 17,000,” the petitioner alleges.
“Since 2006, Ashraf was consecutively booked under PSA for 11 times and every time his detention order was quashed by the competent court and he was acquitted. Presently Ashraf is undergoing 11th detention order. On Ashraf’s every detention order police failed to prove evidences to substantiate their accusations. Police has implicated Ashraf in many false and frivolous cases,” he adds.
After Ashraf, SOG and army, the petitioner says, started to harass his youngest son Firdous Ahmad, who was arrested in 2011. Firdous, his father says, was again tortured severely by SOG and was booked under PSA on the ‘false recovery of some ammunition’
“Then after sometime Firdous’s detention order got quashed and police failed to prove charges against him. Before Firdous could be released, another PSA order was slapped on him and with the result he remained in detention for more than two years. Then again Firdous second detention order was quashed, after which he was released in 2012,” the petitioner says.
Ghulam Nabi says the harassment stopped for some time after Firdous was released. However, Fridous, he says, was called to the police station Dooru where his forcible signatures were taken.
“Fearing for his life, Firdous signed the document and then was allowed to go home. After signing the document the SOG and army resumed raids on my house. SOG started to call Firdous for regular appearance in the SOG camp, where Firdous was being harassed and threatened of dire consequences,” the petitioner says.
“Despite repeated appearance in the SOG camp, army and SOG continue to raid applicant’s house during night and were threatening the applicant and his family,” it adds
The petitioner also alleges that Firdous’s wife was arrested by SOG and tortured during a daylong custody to seek information from her about her husband. Besides, the applicant also alleges that his fourth son Mohammad Abbas had to abandon his wife and children due to unending harassment.
“The applicant and his family continue to face harassment at the hands of SOG JIC Khanabal and army. The applicant apprehends that all his family members have been put to risk and there life is in complete danger. Every time the applicant apprehends that SOG and army should cause any harm to his family particularly his sons,” the petition says.
It says that the applicant’s 12-year-old grandson Bilal Ahmad was “threatened by Major Kuljeet and threatened for talking to the media organizations.”
“Due to the unending harassment and torture to the applicant’s family, the applicant has developed multiple disorders,” the petition reads.
“Therefore, the applicant requests that an immediate and necessary action be taken in the matter and notice be issued to the concerned authorities’ that no further harassment be inflicted on the applicant’s family,” it adds.