It has been 11 months since seven year old Azaan Barkati has slept peacefully. Azaan Barkati son of Sarjan Wagay popularly known as Sarjan Barkati alias ‘Freedom Chacha’ was very much attached to his father, but for this seven year old kid life has not been the same after his father was arrested and jailed under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
“Before my husband was arrested security forces continuously used to raid our house during night to arrest my husband and when they did not find him, they used to damage whatever they could lay their hands on,” says Shabroza Begum wife of Sarjan Barkati.
“My husband is in police custody from the last 11 months and we are facing lots of problem since then. We have been indeed been assisted by the people generously but alienation from my husband is very harsh for me and my two siblings,” she says.
“We don’t have any land or any other source of income. I am struggling to provide education to my children. My son Azaan Barkati, a student of KG class did not sleep for three months after his father was arrested. He used to get up in night and used to cry when he would find his father missing. Azzan is very much upset since the arrest as he is very fond of his father,” says Shabroze.
“My daughter, a student of class 6th always asks me when will Abu Ji come home. I console her saying that he will be home soon,” she said.
“I remember when people used to visit our house during night asking my husband to participate in rallies in their areas. But after that they disappeared. I have few neighbours who are our well wishers. They supported us in the times of need. But at the same time I do understand, people have their own compulsions and limits,” she said.
She added that she is ready to face any hardships for her husband.
“No matter what it takes, I will support my husband till I can because I know he is on a right path,” she said.
” I am not asking anyone to help us survive these harsh days. I just want to ask everyone to pray for the early release of my husband as Sarjan, was the sole bread earner for the family,” she said.
Barkati is a popular Muslim cleric from Shopian district and a senior leader of Ummat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir, headed by Mirwaiz Qazi Yasir.
Barkati was immediately booked under PSA after he was arrested on 1st October 2016 at Wanpoh Anantnag.
Barkati became very popular due to his peculiar way of sloganeering in 2016 uprising, he is popular among youth as they call him “Freedom Chacha”.
Barkati’s wife is perturbed by the fact that police is trying every bit to keep his husband jailed for long.
“Ever month the High Court quashes a PSA against my husband, police keeps another FIR ready and slaps another PSA on him, making his release almost impossible,” says the jailed clerics wife.
“Those religious preachers who were more active than him during 2016 uprising have been released but due to unknown reasons, my husband is being slapped with PSAs-one after another,” she adds.