Srinagar: A Kashmiri engineer, who walked free after 18 years of incarceration, said Friday that Kashmiri prisoners were being ill-treated in Indian jails which, according to him, are “worse than the infamous Abu Gharib prison in Iraq.”
“Kashmiri prisoners are treated worse than animals in every prison across India. Criminals lodged in jails attack Kashmiris at the behest of the authorities. Then the officials accuse them of creating trouble and subject them to solitary confinement. This is a well-written and scripted play in Indian Jails,” Farooq Khan, who returned home Wednesday after acquittal by a Jaipur court in a case related to 1996 bus bombing, told Kashmir Reader.
Farooq said that some criminals recently assaulted a Kashmiri inmate Rafiq Ahmed inside the highly secured Tihar Jail due to which he suffered serious injuries.
“When we heard the tales of terror coming from Abu Gharib, we laughed off. Indian jails are worse than Abu Gharib, where prisoners are subjected to every form of torture. Our ‘shaheed’ (martyr) brother Mohammad Afzal Guru, Iftikhar Geelani, Lateef Ahmad Waja, Tariq Ahmad Dar, and others have witnessed it,” he said.
“India’s policy has been to crush the voice of dissent. India killed, maimed and incarcerated thousands of Kashmiris for demanding their birthright of freedom. They have been doing it, and they’ll continue to do so. They’re following steps of Zionists by incarcerating young Kashmiris for decades and preventing them from having a family. This is another way of genocide,” Farooq said, adding “In most cases, you’ll see that our brothers are released after 10, 15 or 19 years, when their prime youth is over. All this is being done to crush the ongoing freedom struggle in Kashmir.”
Recalling his arrest in the summer of 1996, Farooq said that he was rounded up by the personnel of the Special Task Force (STF) of police and taken to the notorious Cargo interrogation centre in Srinagar.
“I was kept there for three consecutive days. To begin with, the cops kept me naked and beat me mercilessly. Then rollers and electric shocks followed. However, the worst torture was when they put fuel in my private parts,” said Farooq, while taking a deep breath.
After three days of torture, he said, he and Fareeda Behanji (chairperson of Kashmir Mass Movement) were airlifted to New Delhi in a special aircraft that had arrived in the Valley along with the elite NSG commandoes. Both of them, he said, were handcuffed and blindfolded during the flight.
“When the plane landed, somehow a part of the cloth covering my eyes got removed. I saw Delhi airport was converted into a garrison. From airport, we were taken to the headquarters of Delhi Police, where the then Commissioner of Delhi Police Nikhil Kumar was waiting,” Farooq said.
“Kumar offered us either to work with them or confess having carried out blasts in the Indian capital. Cops from Mumbai, Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan were also present at the Delhi Police headquarters.
“The Delhi Police was facing public pressure after blasts in Lajpat Nagar area which killed many civilians. They had to implicate someone. And what better choice did they have then Kashmiris,” Farooq said, adding “We’re not the first, and we’ll not be the last.”
Farooq said that expecting justice from the Indian state was foolish. “There are no trials in courts. It’s simply a judicial process to keep the fate of Kashmiri prisoners hanging in balance,” he said, adding “India can only imprison our body, not our soul. All Kashmiris whether in prison or outside are free.”
Farooq added: “Freedom is priceless. The incarceration of 18 years is no contribution from my side. Those boys, who laid down their lives, those sisters and mothers whose chastity was tarnished have paid a price. Nation remains indebted to them.”