Sopore: A third PSA case has been slapped on 76-year-old Haji Sheikh Mohammad Yousuf, who was granted bail twice in all the cases filed against him by Sopore Police, first in November and then in March this year. Arrested during the civil uprising last year on August 8, Yousuf, a resident of Iqbal Nagar in Sopore town, has been imprisoned in different jails since then. Last week, he was sent to Baramulla sub-jail from Sopore police station, where he had been kept after the court gave him bail in March, until he was slapped with a third case under Public Safety Act in the past nine months.
Yousuf’s only two sons are no longer alive: Mohammad Altaf Sheikh was killed by unknown gunmen at New Colony Sopore in the year 2015, and Abdul Roaf, a PhD scholar, was killed in Srinagar in 2001. Yousuf’s wife, his daughter-in-law and her three kids are the family members he has at home.
“For the past nine months, our life has been limited to courts, but despite getting bail orders in November and then again in March, he was kept at the police station for a month without any orders of remand,” said Hanifa Begum, wife of Yousuf. “We had hope that they will release him but they instead slapped him with a third PSA. This is the extreme level of cruelty.”
Yousuf has been a pro-freedom activist and a member of Jamat-i-Islamia since his youth. Hanifa Begum said that after both her sons were killed, she has only one hope to live for, that is Yousuf sahib, but she fears his continuous detention under Public Safety Act may damage his health as he is a heart patient and has undergone three surgeries in his eye.
“I don’t understand what his crime is. Did he pelt stones? How can such an old person pelt stones or harm or attack anybody? They have charged him with crimes that he cannot even think of. The charges are all fabricated,” Hanifa Begum said.
“I am myself old and ill. I took help from some relatives to secure his bail orders but now I don’t think anyone will help me in submitting his bail application. People are busy in their own lives. We have no one, we are alone,” she said.
The police dossier on Yousuf shows that he has been released twice in the past nine months, first on 24-11-2016 and the second time on 4-3-2017. This, according to his family, is a lie. He has not been released even for a single day in the past nine months, the family says.
Superintendent of Police Sopore, Harmeet Singh, told Kashmir Reader that he had no information related to this case and refused to comment further.
The police dossier on Yousuf states: “You are a dedicated, diehard and staunch member of Tehreek-I-Hurriyat and are illegally working for the secession of J&K from the Union of India. You are involved in provoking youth for pelting stones upon police/ security forces. You are presently trying to vitiate the situation of area Sopore by way of spreading anti-national sentiments among the populace of area Sopore as usual. You are treacherous and may again take part in such activities which will cause mutilation to the peace of Sopore area. You are also involved in case FIR No.214/2016 U/S 147, 148, 149, 307, 336, 427 RPC 3PPD Act.
“You have been found involved in propagating anti-national sentiments among the populace and spreading hate against the state/Union of India. Your remaining at large may cause mutilation to the peace of state, particularly in town Sopore. You have been arrested in case FIR No.126/2016 of P/S Tarzoo and are presently on remand. There is every possibility that you may succeed to get the Bail from the Hon’ble court and will indulge in such activities again, which will prove fatal for security agencies deployed for maintenance of peace and public order. You are a hardcore activist of Hurriyat (G) group and are involved in many incidents motivating/instigating youths of town Sopore for creating law and order problem, thereby disturbing the peace and tranquility of the area/ state. It is obvious that if you will be allowed to move freely, you will again start provoking /instigating youths, populace of town Sopore for stone pelting and will create hurdles for the security agencies to maintain peace and public order in the area.
In view of the above, you are hereby detained under the provisions of Public Safety Act, 1978. You have right of making a representation before the government in the home department against your detention if you so choose.”