Sopore: A 45-year-old man who was to undergo an operation for a serious prostrate illness has been sent to Kot Balwal jail in Jammu on a second PSA (Public Safety Act) case slapped against him. His wife, who secured court orders quashing his PSA detention in December and thought her troubles were over when the Sopore police released him, is now extremely worried that the police have sent her husband to jail once again.
On August 27, the Sopore police arrested Lateef Ahmad Kaloo, a pro-freedom activist and member of Muslim League since his youth, from his shop in Sopore town on charges of taking part in anti-India protests. On September 13, Lateef was sent to Baramulla sub-jail under the Public Safety Act (PSA). In jail, his health worsened and the police took him to the doctor but did not inform his wife. She learnt of the illness when she went to visit him in jail. Alarmed to see him in such a condition, she went to court and managed to have the PSA case against him quashed onDecember 20. But the Sopore police only brought him from the Baramulla jail and then kept him under custody at Sopore police station for several days. When his health deteriorated, they called his wife and asked her to take him for a medical check-up. Medical tests at SKIMS hospital showed that he was suffering from a severe prostrate illness and needed to be operated on within a few days. His operation was scheduled on April 1.
On March 18, the Sopore police called Lateef to report to the police station immediately, saying that the Superintendent of Police wanted to speak with him. When he reached there, he was detained again. A new PSA order was ready against him, issued the day before on March 17.
Lateef is a resident of Mohalla Syed Sultan, Arampora, in Sopore town. His wife Gulashana, married to him for 18 years, told Kashmir Reader that on August 27 last year, she became worried when her husband did not return home from his shop in Sopore town in the evening. “I went out to search for him. A neighbour told me that my husband had been picked up by the police. I left my children at home and rushed to the Sopore police station. He was there, behind bars. When I asked the Station House Officer on what charges my husband had been arrested, he told me that he had been accused of leading anti-India protests,” Gulshana said.
“I didn’t understand. How can such an old and ill person pelt stones or attack anybody? They had charged him with crimes that he could not do. The charges were all fabricated,” Gulshana said.
On September 13, Lateef was booked under PSA and sent to Baramulla sub-jail. There he fell unconscious and the police took him for medical check-up. “The police didn’t find it necessary to inform me. If anything would have happened to him, what would have I done with my life? It was after some days when I went to visit him in jail that I saw how weak he had become, and totally pale. He told me of his falling unconscious in the jail,” Gulshana said.
“After I secured the court orders quashing his PSA detention on December 20, I went and submitted the order at the Sopore police station. He was brought from Baramulla to Sopore but the police didn’t release him. Instead, they kept him in the police station for many more days. When his condition went from bad to worse, I was informed to take him to the doctor for check-up. His tests showed a high prostate level. When I showed the report to the Sopore police, they released him for treatment, fearing something might happen to him in jail,” Gulshana said.
“Immediately after my husband’s release, we went to Srinagar to get a check-up from Dr Saleem Najar, head of the nephrology department at SKIMS. He said that my husband has to be operated on within some days. The date of the operation was scheduled on April 1. We were preparing for the operation, but on March 18, the Sopore police called him to the police station. When he reached there, he was detained again,” Gulshana said.
“Even after being aware of his serious condition, they charged him under PSA once again. It was shocking to see that the PSA order was already ready, issued on 17th of March. The next day, he was taken to Kupwara sub-jail, but the Kupwara jail authorities didn’t take him in, as the jail has no space for more detainees. The Sopore police brought him back to Sopore police station. I pleaded in front of the station officer that my husband needed to be operated on, but he didn’t listen and sent my husband to Kot Balwal jail in Jammu a couple of days ago. Now if something happens to him, what will we do? For the past two days, my kids have been crying and pleading with me to bring their father back. I have no one to call on help. My husband is our sole bread-winner. What will I do without him?” Gulshana said, crying as she spoke.