Old-age mother is hypertensive, daughter fighting skin cancer
Hajin: The landmark movements in the lives of students are when they pass matriculation or Class XII results with flying colours. But for 18-year-old Maria and her 16-year sister Sumaya, crossing the milestone was subdued and bereft of any celebratory fervor. Reason: the girls’ father Asadullah Parray is languishing in jail, since 2015 under draconian Public Safety Act. Their mother has already passed away.
Maria qualified her 12th class exams last month with a modest percentage. She accomplished the feat despite facing hardships in taking care of her five younger siblings in absence of their parents. Maria does tailoring during night hours to earn some money to make the two ends meet. However, this has not eclipsed the determination of the young girls. Her sister Sumaya also scored distinction in the recently declared matric results.
Maria says her success was celebrated by all of her relatives and her jailed father threw a ‘party’ for his jail inmates.
“Papa couldn’t believe his ears when he heard the news about my success. He told me that he hosted a feast in jail to celebrate the event,” she said recalling her meeting with her father after the declaration of results.
“For me, it was a routine because I didn’t feel the happiness deeper in my heart,” Maria said.
Maria’s biggest worry is her ailing sibling Sabrina, 15, who is suffering from skin cancer. The doctors at Jehlum Valley Medical College (JVC) have told her that she needs to be treated in a hospital outside the valley.
“I was accompanying Sabrina at the hospital when my results were declared. At that moment, doctors were telling me that Sabrina needs to be treated outside the valley. They told me that upcoming warm weather may deteriorate her condition,” Maria sighed.
“Yes, I felt happy later when Sumaya qualified her 10th class, I know how hard she had worked despite all the odds at home,” Maria said.
After the court quashed Asadullah’s fourth PSA in December, the children were hopeful for his release when he was shifted to Srinagar Central Jail from Kot Balwal in Jammu.
She said the village elders including her uncles met with the top officials of the district and received assurances that Parray would be released this time.
“I was happy and waiting for the release of our father. I had even decided to apply for the entrance of Bachelor’s in Law at Universities in Srinagar and Sabrina was waiting for her father’s company to leave for treatment outside the state. But he was booked again under PSA. We are heartbroken and our hopes have shattered,” she said adding that she would pursue her further studies at Sumbal college. “The biggest worry is the treatment of our ailing sister,” she said as tears welled her eyes.
Parray’s relatives told Kashmir Reader that some top officials told them that the higher authorities were not in favour of releasing Parray. They did not identify these “higher authorities”.
They said that Parray’s elderly mother suffered a hypertensive stroke and was shifted to Srinagar for treatment when she heard that her son has again been booked and dispatched to Kot Balwal jail.
However, Saja has again mustered courage to keep the family going. “I am keeping myself strong only for the sake of the grandchildren. I am devastated from inside but I don’t give this feeling to these children,” she said.
Maria said that they had pleaded with the authorities to lodge him at Srinagar central jail but they did not pay any heed. Kashmir Reader had a chance to meet Asadullah Parray at police station Hajin on Saturday, the day he was supposed to be shifted to Jammu jail.
“The affection of my children makes my heart restless. I am deeply anguished to think about the state of my children as I am languishing in jail and their mother is resting in her grave,” he said.
Parray said that he is continuously jailed since 29 June 2015. I have served a 10-year jail term earlier. The state authorities have been farming me for events which have taken place in 2016 while I was in jail. The vindictiveness is because of the slogan that I have raised in favor of freedom,” he said and added that raising voice for freedom is neither a crime nor a sin.
Deputy Commissioner Bandipora confirmed to Kashmir Reader that Asadullah Parray has been booked under 5th PSA 12 days ago and is waiting to be shifted to Jammu.
Maria’s other siblings are 8-year-old brother, Usama, Insha, Ulfat, Sabrina and Sumaya.