Will CM’s concern over manhandling of inmates in Tihar Jail ‘impress’ separatists

Srinagar: On Tuesday the beleaguered Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tried to reach out to the separatist camp after she expressed  concern over media reports suggesting alleged harassment and manhandling of some inmates from the state at Tihar Jail in New Delhi.

“Taking a serious view of these reports, the Chief Minister spoke to Union Home Secretary, Rajiv Gauba and asked him to intervene in the matter,” an official spokesman said.

He said the Union Home Secretary assured the Chief Minister of a thorough probe into the incident and “punishing” the culprits for having violated the jail manual.

Pertinently, on Monday a delegation of prominent citizens of Soibug area in Budgam district of central Kashmir claimed that the guards of Delhi’s Tihar Jail made a” murderous” attack on Syed Shahid Yousuf son of Hizbul Chief Syed Salahuddin and various other inmates on November 21.

Shahid, according to the delegation members suffered multiple injuries in  the attack carried out for more than an hour between 8 to 9 PM on November 21.

They delegation also claimed that the lawyer of Shahid was denied an audience by the jail authorities on November 21 because he had suffered multiple injuries. However, next day, the lawyer was allowed to meet him. Shahid narrated the entire episode to the lawyer and handed over  a blood-soaked  under-wear to him as a proof of the murderous attack on him,” the delegation alleged.

The delegation appealed to the authorities to transfer the case of Shahid to Srinagar to allow him to meet his nine-year-old son, Syed Miftah, his specially abled son who is greatly attached with his father.

Notably, a special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday extended judicial remand of Shahid till December 22. He was produced before the judge at Patlia house court after the expiry of the previous remand.

Shahid, who was under questioning of NIA since August  24, was asked to appear before the NIA on October 24, however, he was arrested by the investigating agency and was lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail since then.

The assault on the inmates at Tihar was carried out by a unit of Tamil Nadu Special Police Unit. 18 jail inmates, including Shahid Yusuf were ruthlessly beaten. The assault on the inmates had left them bruised and the photographs of these injured inmates taken by the lawyers, had gone viral on the net.

“The assault shows the least concern jail authorities and the police show towards the human rights of the Kashmiri prisoners,” Mehraj Ahmad, a netizen said while posting the photographs.

Political observers opine that the CM’s statement has come at a time when the centre’s point man Dineshwar Mishra is in Kashmir and as of now he has failed to break ice in terms of arranging any meetings with the separatist camp.

“This move can be seen as an attempt by the Chief Minister to offer an olive branch to the separatists who have been showing no inclination to meet the center’s point man so far. Otherwise, such incidents have happened in the past but no Chief Minister had come out publicly to pin point the issue and get it registered with senior home ministry officials,” said Altaf Hussain, a political commentator.   

Importantly, the opposition termed the move by the Chief Minister as a ‘total mismatch’.

“First getting separatist and their relatives arrested and then pleading their case shows the duplicity the Chief Minister depicts,” said, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Congress state Chief.

“This entire episode of announcing amnesty for stone pelters and now showing concern for the jail inmates shows that the Chief Minister is trying to make the appointment of interlocutor as relevant. Otherwise, what stops Mehbooba Ji from releasing the youth from jails. It is her government and police who booked these young men under various charges. Why can’t they order their release,” Mir said.


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