By Nusrat Sidiq
Srinagar: A 19-year-old who wants to sit in the Class 12 board exams scheduled on February 14 is imprisoned in Kot Balwal Jail for the past five months. His family is pleading with the authorities to shift him from Kot Balwal Jail in Jammu to Central Jail Srinagar so that he can appear in the exams.
Arif Rashid Shah Syed Bukhari, resident of Achabal in Anantnag district, was detained in 2016 for stone-pelting incidents in Achabal on September 19. On September 27, the Public Safety Act (PSA) was slapped on him and he was sent to Kot Balwal Jail.
The police FIR against him says that Arif has played an “active role in advocating, abetting and inciting people of Achabal area to hold demonstrations against the established government.”
“On 3/7/2016 at 1.30 hours, an unruly mob led by you equipped with stones attacked police station Achabal and government quarters of officers/officials [in which] glass panels and solar light plates got damaged due to stone pelting. A case FIR 77/2016 was registered against you with a PSA slapped 377/2016,” the FIR reads.
Arif’s father Abdul Rashid Syed Shah Bukhari is contesting the police charge. He says his son was not involved in any stone-pelting incident. “My son never pelted stones. He only took the injured to the hospital. On the basis of this he was slapped with PSA and booked for stone-pelting, which he has never done,” Abdul Rashid told Reader.
He further said, “On 9th July, a day after Burhan Wani’s killing, the whole of Anantnag was on the boil. Bullets, tear gas shells, and pellets were fired by police and CRPF troops from everywhere. Dead bodies were lying on the ground and the injured were crying for help. My son took some of the injured to the hospital but on his way, at Sangam, government troops stopped him and others. The troops attacked the injured and a 12-year-old boy, Danish Shah of Magreypora Achabal, was shot in the head. My son took Danish to the SKIMS hospital at Soura but there he was declared brought dead. That kid could have been saved if had been brought to the hospital half an hour earlier, the doctors told my son.”
Abdul Rashid said that Arif continued to carry the injured to hospital for another two months. On September 19, Arif’s sister was hit by pellets. When he was taking her to hospital, police caught him and took him to Achabal police station, Abdul Rashid said.
“After 8 days of detention at Achabal police station, PSA was slapped on him. Our house is adjacent to the Achabal police station. When the police fired pellets on September 19, my younger daughter was badly injured. Arif was taking her to hospital but on the way he was arrested by police,” Abdul Rashid said.
“We have appealed in the High Court against his PSA detention. I have also been requesting the authorities to shift my son from Kot Balwal Jail to Central Jail Srinagar, so that he can appear in board exams. I don’t want my son’s career to be spoiled,” Abdul Rashid said.