By Shafat Mir
Anantnag: Aadil Manzoor Ganie, 25, resident of Mattan town in Anantnag district, abandoned studies more than a decade ago after his father suffered a road accident which paralysed his left leg. Aadil began to drive a load-carrier to support his family, which lives in a single-room mud house and comprises his mother, two teenage brothers, a sister, and the half-paralysed father. One of Aadil’s brothers left home years ago and lives separately since then.
When the uprising began in Kashmir last summer, Aadil’s load-carrier went out of business. He left the state to work as assistant of a truck driver in the northern states of India.
While he was working outside the state, there occurred an incident of stone-pelting in Mattan on a Friday. Aadil’s mother, Zareefa, told Kashmir Reader that CRPF and police laid a siege around the mosque in their locality after Friday prayers and did not allow anybody to come out. The people present inside the mosque made announcements on loudspeakers which brought locals to the mosque and clashes with the government troops ensued. Zareefa said that during the clashes, some youth attacked the SHO (station house officer) of Mattan.
“When I heard the noise outside, I went out and brought Muzammil, my younger son, into the house. That day, Aadil was in Delhi,” Zareefa said.
After that day, Zareefa said, police started visiting her home to ask for Aadil. Manzoor Ahmed Ganie, Aadil’s father, said that even before the Friday clashes happened, police had asked him to restraint his younger son, Zubair, who is in his early teens, from troubling the policemen.
“I was sitting outside a shop in the market during the shutdown when a Rakshak vehicle stopped in front of me. A policeman inside the vehicle told me to keep a check on the activities of my youngest son, Zubair. I said that if my son is ever found indulging in violence, then they should drag him to me and I will deal with him,” Manzoor Ahmed told Reader.
Muzammil, Aadil’s brother, said that policemen dressed in civil clothes started coming to their home every day to ask for Aadil. “They said he was involved in stone-pelting and had attacking the SHO during the violence outside the local mosque. I kept telling the policemen that if they have any proof of Aadil’s involvement then they should show it to us and we will have no hesitation in handing him over to them. Aadil was in Delhi when the clashes happened. How could he be involved in them?”
The policemen kept visiting their home looking for Aadil for about 15 days in a row, the family said. One night, policemen arrived at their home at 10pm. “There were some lights flashing outside our house. As I peeped out of the window, I saw there were policemen all around. I asked everyone to stay indoors and went out myself to talk with the policemen. They were again asking about Aadil’s whereabouts. Next morning, they detained his paralysed father for a night. Seeing his condition, they released him the next morning,” Zareefa said.
Aadil’s sister, Iqra, who is a graduate student, told Reader, “Phones were not working during those days. We somehow managed to contact the truck driver in Delhi and asked him to tell Aadil to reach home immediately. A couple of days later, on October 13, we took Aadil to the police to clear their doubts. But they detained him at the police station and a couple of days later, at six in the morning, we were asked by the police to come meet him. When we went to the police station, we were told that Aadil had been detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).”
Hours later, Aadil was shifted to Kot Balwal jail in Jammu on October 15. Police told his family that he had been booked under PSA more than two months ago, on August 8, for attacking the SHO of Mattan.
There have been several court hearings in the PSA case against Aadil, but he continues to be in Kot Balwal jail. On February 10 this year, his detention under PSA was extended by another six months.
Iqra has been giving tuitions to a couple of primary-level students in her locality but the money she earns is spent on her own education. Muzammil dropped out of school just before he was to appear in the Class 10 board examinations last year. He now works as salesman at a local bakery to earn for the family.
“It was my elder brother who sacrificed his career for the family. Now that he is imprisoned, it becomes my responsibility to earn for the family. We also need money to pursue the court case against his imprisonment,” said Muzammil, who is not yet 16 years old.
Manzoor Ahmed said, “There are several boys of the name Aadil in our locality. Maybe the police had wrong information about my son.”
The next hearing in Aadil’s case is on the 20th of this month.
“Whenever we go to meet him in jail he weeps like a kid, which further shatters our hearts. He keeps asking what his fault is. When he was not even here, how has he become involved in this mess,” Zareefa said, breaking down in tears while speaking.
The local Auqaf committee did help the family financially during the shutdown, but now they are on their own. When Zareefa went to a person living in the locality to borrow some money, he declined saying he had no money. Muzammil’s earnings barely make the ends meet and the family relies on help from neighbours to survive these testing times.