Jammu: Pressing his demand for the immediate release and revocation of Public Safety Act (PSA) charges against 14-year-old Sahil Ahmad Sheikh, Langate MLA Engineer Rashid on Monday presented in the house the birth certificate of the boy. The government had claimed that Sahil Sheikh’s age was 22 years.
With the birth certificate of Sahil Sheikh held aloft in his hand, Rashid stormed into the well of the House and demanded the immediate release of the juvenile.
Extending his support to Rashid, PDP legislator and Minister for Rural Development Abdul Haq Khan said that the certificate should be submitted to the government and the matter will be looked into accordingly.
Not satisfied with the assurance given by the minister, Rashid requested Speaker Kevinder Gupta to direct the government to release the boy. Speaker Gupta then asked the government to look into the matter.
Rashid said in the house that the government was slapping PSA on minors and the law and order in Kashmir Valley had been handed over to armed forces.
“The government still hasn’t answered the question regarding Sarjan Barkati, Masrat Alam and the 86-year-old man Wali Mohammad Shah, who have been charged under PSA. The reasons of their detention should be made public. The valley is under police and security forces now,” Rashid said.
Rashid also raised his voice against the death sentence given to Muzaffar Ahmad, a young man from south Kashmir, by a court in Kolkata. He called the sentence a “murder of justice and democracy”.
“We will not allow any innocent to become second Afzal Guru of Kashmir,” Rashid said.
“It is obvious that there are two sets of laws, one for Kashmiris and the other for Indians,” he said.
Speaking to the media outside the assembly, Minister for Rural Development Abdul Haq Khan said that the government is committed to the policy that no person should be kept in jail on false charges. “We are on daily basis looking into the cases pertaining to preventive detention. We are ascertaining who is involved and to what extent and any minor detained will be sent to juvenile centres. If any minor is lodged in any jail we will probe the case and take necessary action,” Khan said.
The birth certificate submitted in the house by Rashid says that the date of birth of Sahil Ahmad Sheikh is ‘Tenth of March 2002’, according to which his age is 14 years and 9 months at present. The government last week had told the legislative assembly that according to a report by SSP Srinagar, the age of the boy was 22 years.
Rashid said in the house that stringent action should be taken against the officer who provided false information of the boy’s age.