Jailed Khan Sopori’s house continues to remain confiscated

Sopore: Amid a sluggish trial in court and refusal of the state government to act on humanitarian grounds, the house belonging to prominent resistance leader Ghulam Muhammad Khan Sopori continues to remain sealed even as the family of the jailed leader lives in a rented house at Sopore or the past five years.
The mud-and-brick house located in uptown Chanapora locality in capital Srinagar was confiscated by the government in 2012, on the charges of “acting as conduit of banned terrorist outfit Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami (HuJI) and has been providing financial assistance to it through Hawala transactions”. However, Khan’s son Sajad Ahmad says that no evidence has been presented by the police.
“Our family was evicted and thrown out on the street five years ago on flimsy and concocted grounds,” Ahmad, 37, told Kashmir Reader. He said the trial of the case in state high court is going on in a sluggish way.
“Our case is listed twice or thrice in a year. In 2013, the case was even dismissed at one point. We have submitted new application for the new hearing,” he said.
“Our home was seized because my father has been affiliated with the resistance camp since his youth. He has spent more than 17 years in jail. When they failed to break his resolve, they snatched our home. Presently my father is in Kot Bilwal jail under the second PSA, despite the court giving him bail in March in all the cases slapped against him,” he said.
He said police have no evidence to prove their claims but they are delaying to appear before the court of law. He said his mother sold off her jewelry for purchasing the house.
“Either the claims of the police must be proven in the court or the authorities must restore the house to us on humanitarian grounds till the case is settled,” Sajad, who lives in a rented house at Sopore owned by one of his relatives, said.
Sopori’s counsel Zafar Ahmad Shah said the hearing of the case is pending. “The court process is not rapid. It always takes time. We should not lose hope,” he said.
Engineer Rasheed, MLA Langate, who raised this issue twice in the assembly said that snatching old man’s house only exposes the people who talk of peace in Kashmir but are brutal in destroying and demoralizing the Kashmiri people.
“I will continue to raise such issues in future too,” he said.

‘Reasonable belief, material and evidence’
An order signed by then director general of police Kuldeep Khoda, authorizing the ‘attachment’ of the house, says that the investigation officer has gathered “material and evidence leading him to frame a reasonable belief” that Khan Sopori has been “acting as conduit of banned terrorist outfit Harkat-e-Jihadi Islami and has been providing financial assistance to it through Hawala transactions”. The order says the investigating officer “has gathered evidence to suggest” that Khan “has earned huge amounts by working as a conduit for the outfit and acquired the house for strengthening the outfit in Srinagar”.