TuliNowpora (Kulgam): A message popped up on the phone camera: ‘you have run out of the memory, delete some data’. I had just begun to record the statement of Feroz Ahmad Shah, 44, a drug store owner from TuliNowpora, Kulgam, whose torture at the hands of the government forces can only be described as savage.
When I asked him to say it again from the beginning, one could sense the hesitance. He averts camera’s gaze, lowers his face and after a brief pause said:
“The daughters (he has three, aged 7-12) had joined the pro-Burhan protest on the main road. I went out and asked them to come home. Told them the police might harass them. A police vehicle came and policemen caught me. They stripped me naked and beat me up badly, on the road itself.
“They held me by the legs and dragged me all the way to the camp (about 500 metres). There I told them for god sake give me some water. They bought a bottle of urine and sprinkled some of it on my face. But the worst happened when they thrust sticks up my anus and that is when I could take it no more and I fainted. I regained consciousness after two days at Kulgam police station.”
The police did not take him to hospital, of course. His wife and other people had to beg for his release. He considers himself lucky that he came out alive and no case has been registered against him, but “who knows”.
He was taken to Kulgam hospital only the next day, where his left arm, with a bad fracture, has been plastered. It would be a while for the fracture to heal. He is yet to visit a doctor for the complications the anal torture might have caused.
“How can he go now? Only his wife accompanied him when he went for arm surgery. They (government forces) didn’t allow any of us to accompany him,” said a group of people who led us to Shah’s home. All of them stressed the fact of his ‘abject poverty’.