Palhalan: Despite court orders for their release, a number of youth from Palhalan area of Baramulla district are languishing in jails. The careers of these youths have been ruined by the charges slapped on them by police, and their families claim they never were involved in those activities.
Youth in Palhalan are paying the price for taking to streets in the years between 2008-10 when the Valley was on the boil over the Amarnath land transfer agitation. About 39 youth from Baramulla lost their lives in 2010 agitation and most of them belonged to this area, a population of 30,000 souls. Those who survived are now being hounded by the police.
Scores of youth from Palhalan have faced detention and torture at various police stations and jails. However the worst part of their tragic tale is that the ghost of the land agitation is still haunting them. “We don’t get government jobs because we have FIRs registered against us. And when we try to move out of the state to earn our livelihood, police denies us a verification certificate,” says a youth from Palhalan.
A large number of youth in the area are without Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) also known as state subject certificates. “A couple of boys who tried to get a verification report from local police station were detained and allowed to go only after spending two days in the lock up,” says a local resident who requested anonymity.
Ghulam Mohammad Peer, a resident of Peer Mohalla, Palhalan while talking to Kashmir Reader said that his son Basit Ahmad Peer, doing his Masters in Commerce (M.Com), was arrested by police in October 2015 on stone pelting charges. “The court has bailed him out about two weeks ago. But before he could come out, he has been booked again. We even don’t know the charges leveled against him this time,” he said. Basit has missed his exams. “His studies have been spoiled and I have no idea what is going to happen to him,” a worried father says.
Families of most of the detainees were hesitant to talk to this reporter. However one person who is representing the families and spearheading a campaign for their release was very vocal in highlighting their plight.
Haji Abdul Khaliq Bhat, chairman of Islah Welfare Society of Palhallan has been fighting the cases for families who have not enough resources to do so. Bhat, who has served in Indian Army and was jailed from 1970-75 on charges of being a Pakistani agent spends most of his time and resources in fighting the cases of local youth jailed on almost similar charges of stone pelting.
“There are four youth from this village who are presently in jail. They are Nazir Ahmad Gojree, Basit Ahmad Peer, Adil ahmad Gojree and Nasir Ganie,” Bhat informs.
In case of Nasir Ganie, High Court on last Friday has issued notices to police and district administration to file objections within two weeks time in a case in which he has been put behind bars under Public Safety Act for the second time. Interestingly Nasir has been arrested on 31 January 2014 on stone pelting charges that took place in 2010. Why police waited for four years to arrest him, nobody knows.
“All of the four youths have been bailed out by court but police is not allowing them to come out of jail. They have been booked again with different charges to prolong their detention. What police is doing is not going to help improve situation in Kashmir,” says Bhat.