Awantipore: As the Peoples Democratic Party candidate for Anantnag constituency and his party members were talking of turning Kashmir into a paradise inside the Awantipore Community Hall, two distraught fathers were waiting outside so they could ask those inside to release their sons.
Though the two fathers belonged to entirely different areas of south Kashmir, their story connected them. And both pledged that if their sons were released they will vote for the PDP.
Muhammad Sultan Alai, an aged man, wearing a skull cap and pheran was trying hard for a meeting with Tasaduq Mufti and other PDP leaders. He was shouting at the top of his voice, trying hard to go inside the Hall where the leaders were sitting after concluding the low-key election campaign.
However, the plain clothed policemen, donning three-piece suits, refused to let him inside.
“My only son Tanveer Sultan Alai is 26 years old,” said Sultan, who hails from Wookh Kakpora village of Pulwama.
“He is a conductor by profession and works with a school bus. He was in Pampore when the police stopped the bus and arrested him, 12 days ago,” he said.
Tanveer has been booked under the Public Safety Act and shifted to Kathua jail, Jammu.
“He has a child. We are all dependent on him. I came here to request them to release my son but police did not allow me to meet the leaders. Where should I go? I do not have money to travel Jammu and meet my son.”
“If our votes can secure his release we are ready to vote,” Sultan said.
Apart from Tasaduq, Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, MLA Pampore Zahoor Mir, PDP general secretary Nizamudin Bhat, District President Abdul Gani Dar, MLA Pulwama, Mohammad Khalil Bandh, youth president Waheed-Ur-Rehman Parra and others were also present on the occasion.
Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, a labourer from Khrew, had come to the PDP meeting along with group of his villagers, hoping this might help in seeking his son Sajad Ahmad Bhat’s release from police custody.
“My son Sajad Ahmad is a LLB student. He runs a family kiryana shop. He was arrested by the police from Khrew on charges of recharging money to the mobile phones of militants,” Bhat told Kashmir reader.
After his arrest, he was shifted to Pampore police station by the police.
“For the past 45 days he has been at police station Pampore,” Bhat said. “Now who will establish that my son aided militants? Police can frame cases. Everybody knows it.”
“I and my entire extended family of 25 people will vote if my son is released. I have no other choice. I want my son released,” he added.