Srinagar: A prominent civil rights organization on Monday shot a letter to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah seeking his intervention to end the alleged intimidation of a family from Verinag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district by the armed forces.
The letter written from Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a copy of which has also been sent to Director General of Police (DGP), seeks an immediate action into the continuous detentions, threats, intimidation and harassment of Peer Ghulam Nabi of Batagund, Verinag. The letter says that “105-year-old Peer Ghulam Nabi had four sons Farooq Ahmad, Mohammad Ashraf, Mohammad Abbas and Firdous Ahmad. Farooq was involved in militancy in late ‘90s, and was killed in an encounter in 2001.
“The involvement of Farooq in militancy has resulted in continuous detentions, threats, intimidation and harassment of the entire family at the hands of the personnel of the Special Operations Group (SOG), Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC), Khanabal, and the Indian army, including more recently by Major Kuljeet, Rashtriya Rifles, camped at Nadoora, Dooru,” the letter reads.
Mohammad Ashraf has been detained and tortured on numerous occasions following the killing of his brother. Due to repeated arrests and torture, Ashraf at one point decided to stay at a relative’s house to avoid further harassment, the letter says.
“In 2006, during a raid by the SOG, JIC, Khanabal, Firdous was detained instead of his brother, Ashraf. 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.
“Then during Firdous’s detention, Ashraf was arrested and implicated in a false militancy case. Ashraf was never involved in any unlawful or militant activity but on baseless charges he was booked under the Public Safety Act,. After Ashraf’s detention Firdous was released by SOG, JIC, Khanabal on the payment of Rs 17, 000,” it adds
Since 2006, Ashraf has been consecutively been booked under PSA 11 times. His PSA orders have been quashed, but he continues to be detained as an under-trial.
“Following the arrest of Ashraf, the SOG and army began targeting Firdous. He was detained and tortured. Two PSA orders were passed against him and he was detained for more than two years. Both PSA orders were quashed by the High Court, by orders dated September 29, 2011 and May 8, 2012,” reads the letter.
After his release, Firdous, the CCS letter says, was summoned to the Kokernag police station on July 2, 2012 and was ordered to give a false statement under Section 164-A Cr PC.
“Firdous was ordered to testify that a person named Javed Ahmad Bhat, son of Ghulam Hassan Bhat, resident of Soap, Kokernag was not in police custody but was with him. And that both of them were militants,” it adds.
The effect of this statement, the letter says was to exculpate the police in a case of custodial killing of Javed presently being litigated in the Anantnag district court.
“While Firdous refused to testify, he was forced to sign on blank documents. SOG and Indian army continued to raid Firdous’s house. On one occasion, his wife was tortured for an entire day in SOG custody. Further, Mohammad Abbas was also harassed. Due to the unending harassment Abbas is not residing at his residence anymore and his family resides at his father’s residence,” the letter reads.
It says that the family was further harassed by the army when they revealed the ordeal before them and the media organizations. It says that the 12-year-old son of Abbas was summoned by army and threatened by a Major.
“We understand that even journalists who covered the matter were threatened. To date, Firdous is being pressurized by the police to provide a false Section 164-A statement. Further, there are numerous false FIR’s filed against him,” the letter adds.
“This case has been submitted before the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission. Notice to the relevant authorities was issued on May 13, 2014. Your attention and immediate action is warranted in this matter,” it adds.