SRINAGAR: A deputation comprising relatives and families of those languishing in Delhi’s Tihar jail called on Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Geelani at his Hyderpora residence on Saturday and briefed him about the latest developments and recent thrashing incident in the prison.
Hurriyat spokesperson in a statement said, “The detainees while quoting reliable sources said that 18 inmates suffered injuries on the night of November 21 after they were brutally beaten up by personnel from the Tamil Nadu Special Police (TSP) and the Quick Response Team (QRT) without any justifiable reason.”
“The security personnel of TSP on 21 November in late hours in night, during their routine inspection of Tihar prison barged into the barrack C of jail 1. They found a pillow with one prisoner. Deeming it objectionable, they questioned the said detainee and raised their objections. The trouble began after the TSP team began seizing the pillow covers of inmates while searching each cell.”
“The said prisoner is ailing and doctor attending him had advised him to use a proper pillow. Accordingly, the prisoner had sought permission from honourable judge, however the security guards objected and they entered into an altercation,” the spokesperson said.
“The infuriated guards unnecessarily barged into the barracks and started thrashing inmates and showered water on clothing, beddings and other belongings of inmates. Then they ruthlessly started beating these prisoners. Out of 18 prisoners, 17 were Muslims and one is a Hindu. Kashmiris particularly Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, Syed Shahid Yousuf, Mushtaq Ahmad, Ghulam Jeelani, Javid Ahmad, Ahtisham Ahmad were ruthlessly beaten and (they) received severe injuries on their heads while few received injuries in their arms, neck and shoulders.”
He said the prisoners could not sleep all night due to fear and no one came for their rescue even as they called for help. “Instead of help, QRT (quick reaction team) came in C and F barrack and started beating for an hour,” the deputation said adding, “The jail inmates are now reeling under fear psychosis and long term fearful atmosphere may have a deteriorating effect on their mental health.”
Geelani assured the deputation of all possible moral help and said the “whole nation” stands with them. “We equally feel your pain,” Geelani told the families of prisoners. “It is (a) ghastly act and has put the lives of all Kashmiri political prisoners in danger. (It) is a very sensitive issue and a matter of concern for all.”
Geelani said all these prisoners are innocents and detained against false allegations.
Referring to Supreme Court ruling, the Hurriyat chairman demanded shifting of prisoners to nearest jails, saying the detainees are subjected to “vengeance”.
Geelani appealed to international human rights organisations including United Nations Human Rights Commission, Asia Watch and Amnesty International to take cognisance of the “inhuman and hostile treatment” meted out to detainees in Tihar Jail, Delhi and also the “indiscriminate use” of Public Safety Act (PSA) against “innocent” Kashmiri prisoners.