Sopore: Haji Sheikh Mohammad Yousuf, 76, resident of Iqbal Nagar in Sopore, is languishing in Kupwara Jail for the past five months under the Public Safety Act (PSA), despite the court giving him bail in November in a PSA case. Yousuf’s two sons are no longer alive: Mohammad Altaf Sheikh was killed by unknown gunmen at New Colony Sopore in the year 2015, and Abdul Roaf, a PhD scholar, was killed in Srinagar in 2001. Yousuf’s wife, his daughter-in-law and her three kids are the family members he has at home.
Yousuf’s wife Hanifa Begum, 73, told Kashmir Reader that on the night of August 8, policemen came to arrest Yousuf but he told them that he would himself report at the police station in the morning. Yousuf went as he had promised but did not return. Hanifa Begum learnt from the police that Yousuf had been arrested under the Public Safety Act and sent to Kupwara Jail.
“I was worried about his health as he is a heart patient; he has also undergone three surgeries in one eye. With no one to apply for his bail, I took some help from relatives and neighbours and submitted his bail orders. The court quashed his arrest and granted him bail in November. But the police did not release him. After keeping him at the police station for some days, they again charged him under PSA. When I came to know of this, I with my granddaughter’s help reached the Sopore police station with his clothes. That was the time I saw him after 3 months. Yousuf sahib said to me, ‘I don’t know where they are taking me, but you don’t lose hope, have trust in Allah,’” Hanifa Begum said.
Yousuf has been a pro-freedom activist and a member of Jamat-I-Islamia since his youth. Hanifa Begum said that both her two sons were killed in the past few years, and she fears for her grandson, frightened even to send him out to buy medicines.
“I don’t understand what his crime is. Did he pelt stones? How can such an old person pelt stones or attack anybody? Instead, he was the one to tell youth to protest peacefully, to not pick up stones. They have charged him with crimes that he cannot do. The charges are all fabricated,” Hanifa Begum said.
“I am myself old and ill. Now who will go to Kupwara to meet Yousuf sahib, or submit his bail application? We have no one,” she said.
The police dossier on Haji Sheikh Mohammad Yousuf
‘You are reportedly 75years old, were a private teacher by profession, you are a hard-core activist of Hurriyat (G). You one son namely Mohammad Altaf Sheikh was killed by unknown gunmen at New Colony Sopore in the year 2015 and another son namely Abdul Roaf (PhD scholar) was killed in Srinagar. You motivate and instigate the youth of Sopore for creating law and order problems, thereby disturbing the peace and tranquillity of the Sopore area /state. You are provoking populace of town Sopore by spreading anti-national sentiments. During the current law & order problem, you made propaganda and insight (sic) youth for stone pelting upon police/security forces and government/ private buildings and vehicles. You are involved in a number of stone-pelting cases registered in police station Sopore. The brief facts of these cases are as given under:
On 21.7.2016, at Chinkipora Sopore, one unruly/violent mob armed with lathis and stones lead (sic) by you and other associates, resorted to heavy stone pelting upon police/ security forces with the intention of killings resulting damage (sic) to police/security forces vehicles. In the connection, case FIR no.251/2016 U/S 307, 147,148,149,336,427 RPC 3 PPD Act stands registered in police station Sopore which is under investigation.
On 24.7.2016, one unruly/violent mob, armed with lathis and stones, led by you and other associates resorted to heavy stone pelting upon police/security forces on duty with the intention of killings due to which some police/CRPF personnel got injure seriously. In this regard case FIR no.267/2016 U/S 307, 147,148,149,336,332, RPC stands registered in police station Sopore which is under investigation.
On 30.07.2016, one unruly/ violent mob, led by you and others, equipped with lathis and stones resorted to heavy stone pelting on the police/CRPF nafree deployed by law and order duty at Chinkipora Sopore with the intention of killings of police/CRPF nafree deployed for law and order duty and caused damage to police vehicles. In this regard, case FIR no.287/2016 U/S 307, 147, 148, 149, 336, 427, RPC 3PPD Act stands registered in police station Sopore which is under investigation.
Keeping in view of above mentioned facts/involvement, you were detained under PSA in vide DM Bl’s order number 68/DMB/PSA/2016 dated 10.08.2016 and were lodged in district jail Kupwara on 12.08.2016, where from you were released on 24.11.2016 after quasement (sic) of your PSC detention order by the honourable high court of J&K Srinagar in HCP no.124/2016. You are treacherous and may again take part in such activities which may cause mutilation to the peace of state particularly in town Sopore as you are a hardcore activist of Hurriyat (G) group and are involved in many incidents motivating/instigating youths of town Sopore for creating law and order problem thereby disturbing the peace and tranquillity of the area/ state and it is obvious that you will be allowed to move freely, you will again start provoking /instigating youths, populace of town Sopore for stone pelting and will create hurdles for the security agencies to maintain peace and public order in the area.
In view of the above, you are hereby detained under the provisions of public safety act, 1978.You have right of making representation to the government in the home department against your detention if you so choose.’