By Nusrat Sidiq
Srinagar: Zahid Farooq, a 22-year-old resident of Shahenpora in Nowhatta area of Srinagar, has been tossed around several police stations in Srinagar for the past two months. Courts have granted him bail six times in various cases registered against him, but the young man has only been shifted from one jail to another and is now currently behind the bars at Zadibal police station.
A final-year commerce student at Gandhi Memorial College, Zahid has been an active stone-pelter since 2008. He has been continuously detained in the past two months under various FIRs. Almost all the police stations in downtown Srinagar have FIRs against him. At Nowhatta police station are 3 FIRs, at Khanyar 2, at Safakadal 3, at Maharaj Gunj 1, at Lal Bazar 2. He has been charged under RPC-435,138,159 and 336. Most of the cases are of destruction of public property and stone-pelting.
Zahid was arrested on November 16 when he went to Khanyar police station to meet his father, who had been arrested nine days ago and kept at Khanyar police station since then.
His father Farooq Ahmed runs a business of leather products. He told Reader, “For the past two months we have been making rounds of courts. The courts have granted him six bails in these two months and today we are filing papers for the seventh bail. I don’t know whether he will be released or not.”
Zahid, who has an elder brother and two younger sisters, has been charged in the latest case for setting fire to auto-rickshaws, a charge that his family is contesting. His brother Owais Farooq, who owns a mobile shop at Habba Kadal, said, “Though he was involved in stone-pelting, he never set fire to auto-rickshaws or any other public property.”
Owais Farooq said he has also been part of anti-India processions and has bitter memories of the fate that his relatives have suffered. “My family has been through a lot of pain. In 1994, my uncle, Mohammad Yaqoob Khan, who was associated with JKLF, was killed brutally and our house at Nowhatta was set on fire. At that time we were just kids but that brutality at the hands of Indian forces has remained in my memory. No one wants to be a stone-pelter but the oppression and the circumstances have made us stone-pelters. This is just the backlash of what has been done to us.”
“We are trying to get him out on bail but the police are not releasing him. We are filing paper for another bail in the court. Let’s see if they will release him or not,” Owais said.