School teacher jailed for seeking Azadi says, ‘If mothers can sacrifice sons, I can sacrifice a job’

School teacher jailed for seeking Azadi says, ‘If mothers can sacrifice sons, I can sacrifice a job’
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Kupwara: Mohammed Yousuf Ganaie, 36, a government school teacher from Tirch area of Kupwara district, has been languishing in jail for the last eight months despite the court giving him bail in August in the PSA case slapped against him in March. Far from securing him a release order, the verdict brought only another jail term under some FIR cases registered against him in Kupwara police station.
Yousuf Ganaie, son of a government teacher, Ghulam Qadir Ganaie, hails from a well-off family of Tirch village, Kupwara district, with fruit cultivation being the family trade. Yousuf has an MSc in Mathematics from Kashmir University, his youngest brother, Abdul Wahid Ganaie, told Kashmir Reader, and was appointed a teacher in 2003 in the Saduganga Kandi Middle School, where he is presently on suspension.
Providing further details, Abdul recalled, “In July 2016, when the popular militant commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, was killed in an encounter, people from all Kashmir came out on the streets and started protesting. My elder brother, who is a member of the Tehreek-i-Hurriyat and a pro-freedom activist, also started taking part in protests like everyone in the area. But government forces targeted him specifically because of his association with the Hurriyat and the influence of Jamaat on our family.
“Our house was raided many times, but they failed to arrest my brother, who was on the run during the people’s uprising of 2016. They caught him when he was going to visit a lawyer in Kupwara to consult for his bail order as there were already nine FIR’s against him registered by the Kupwara police. He was arrested near Kupwara, at the naka at Kavari Road.”
Abdul continued, “Those days whatever incident would happen in this village or in adjacent areas, like stone pelting, protests or even a fire incident, the police would blame Yousuf and lodge an FIR case against him.
“After arresting him, they took my brother to the Kupwara police station, where he was kept for four days before he was charged under PSA and shifted to Udhampur jail. When the court quashed his PSA in August, we expected him to be released, but instead of that, he was taken to CIK, Jammu, for a couple of days and from there was sent to the police station, Kupwara, where he spent almost 19 days before being sent to sub-jail, Kupwara under the FIR cases lodged against him. Our brother is presently in Kupwara jail,” Wahid recounted.
The household of Ghulam Qadir Ganaie, Yousuf’s father, has earned itself great respect in their Handwara tehsil village for its being ideologically influenced with Jama’at and for the family’s pro-freedom stand. Everyone will direct whosoever asks for their address straight to their house or will even accompany the stranger, as this correspondent found when he was looking for their home.
Yousuf is the eldest among five brothers. Married in 2009, he has two little daughters and two sons. When asked by this correspondent whether Yousuf had thoughts for his job before taking part in protests, Abdul replied, “Whenever we meet our brother in jail, he only says one thing: don’t worry, everything will be fine; if mothers of Kashmir can sacrifice their sons, why can’t I sacrifice my job?”