Wife appeals for help from human rights bodies
Sopore: Just a few days after the J&K High Court quashed a third Public safety Act against 71-year-old Ghulam Mohammad Khan Sopori, police have secured remand for him from a local court in Sopore.
Sopori’s family told Kashmir Reader that the High Court quashed the third PSA against him on March 20, but instead of releasing him he has been kept in custody since.
Now the family has lost hopes of his release again, as police secured a remand for seven days on April 4, in what the family said were “same old charges”.
Sopori, a resident of Badambagh in Sopore, is a senior member of Hurriyat and chairman of the People’s League. He was been behind bars since February 15, 2017 when he arrested from a graveyard in Sopore town where he had gone to pay tributes to Ghulam Mohammad Bulla, whose death in custody is said to be the first custodial killing in Kashmir.
Sopori has been languishing in different Jammu jails since under three repeated PSAs, with periods in between spent in police custody.
Sopori’s wife Hafiza Begum said he is being kept behind bars in “fabricated cases”.
He has even charged with making a provocative speech at the funeral of Hizb militant Qayoom Najar on September 26, a day on which Sopori was in detention at police station as his previous PSA had been quashed.
Najar was killed in an encounter along the Line of Control in Uri on September 26. At that time Sopori was under police detention at Sopore after the J&K High Court had on September 15 quahed a second PSA detention order against him.
“My aged husband has not been released for a minute from detentions since February 2017 but still he was slapped with consecutive PSAs under fake charges prepared by Sopore police against him and now that he was given third release order by High Court on 20th March, we immediately presented his release order to Kathua jail authorities on 23rd of March but he was not released,” Hafiza said.
“Forget about release, they didn’t allow me, his wife, who has come from Kashmir to meet his beloved husband. Isn’t it the extreme level of cruelty which everyone can see but nobody is ready to help”, she lamented.
She said that after jail authorities received his release order, they shifted him to JIC Jammu, “where he was kept for eight days before he was referred to Churoo police station on 31st of March and then brought to Sopore police station on 3rd of April. We expected that police will release him this time but yesterday he was presented in Sopore court, where police in some old case took him on police remand again and he is presently kept in Sopore police station,” she said.
She questioned how old cases under same sections have been brought against Sopori again, when he has not been out for a minute from jail for the last year.
“Keeping an old person like him in jail unlawfully is clear depiction that state government is at war with people of the valley and nobody is doing anything to help the helpless like us”, Hafiza said.
She has been able to meet her husband in Churoo police station, and said that he was not in a good state.
“He is old, weak and ill and if anything happens to him, the state government will be solely responsible for it”, Hafiza said while putting out an appeal to human rights bodies to help in Sopori’s release.
“I am appealing to the human rights bodies and other concerned authority to help us to get my aged husband, who should be at home with his family as he is at the tail end of his age, released from this illegal detention. This is the appeal from a distraught wife to anybody who can help,” Hafiza said.