Jamaat leader who led Dr Rafi Bhat’s funeral jailed under PSA

Jamaat leader who led Dr Rafi Bhat’s funeral jailed under PSA
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TeH leader acquitted after 11 years in Tihar Jail also booked

JUNAID RATHER

SRINAGAR: Two persons including Mohammad Rafiq Shah, acquitted by a Delhi court after serving more than 11 years in Tihar Jail in the 2005 D elhi bomb blast case, have been booked under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).
The PSA allows for arrest and imprisonment of a person without trial for 6 months. The term can be renewed every six months for up to two years on mere suspicion that the person may be acting “in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order” or “in any manner prejudicial to the security of the state.”
Jamaat-e-Islami leader Bashir Ahmad Lone is the other person booked under PSA.
A senior police officer in Kashmir confirmed that the duo has been slapped with the PSA. “Their activities were detrimental to public order,” he said.
“They were giving provocative speeches,” the officer told Kashmir Reader, citing funerals of slain militants including Srinagar militant Eisa Fazili and Kashmir University assistant professor Dr Mohammad Rafi Bhat.
Before being killed in a gunfight with government forces in Shopian on May 1, Bhat had insisted to his parents that Jamaat-e-Islami leader Bashir Ahmad Lone lead his funeral prayers. Lone addressed the gathering at Bhat’s funeral and lashed out at a few masked youth for their “hooliganism” during the funeral.
In the 1990s, militants would often wish for prominent Hurriyat leaders to lead their funeral prayers. The practice stopped after militancy waned in the region when AB Vajpayee was Indian Prime Minister and General Parvez Musharaf the President of Pakistan.
The resurgence of militancy in Kashmir has revived that trend. Hurriyat leaders are once again addressing the gatherings at militant funerals, often by phone. The funerals of militants which have been drawing huge crowds in the Valley have worried the government, which sees them as inspiring youth to join militant ranks.
Mohammad Rafiq Shah is the district president for Srinagar of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, the chief constituent of Syed Ali Geelani-led faction of the Hurriyat Conference.
Lone and Shah have both been sent to Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail, the police officer said.Jamaat-e-Islami condemned the arrests describing the charges as “flimsy” and baseless”.
“His only fault is that he led the funeral prayers of martyr Mohammad Rafiq Bhat and stopped some hooligans from climbing up the stage and raising unwanted slogans, which were likely to cause disturbance in the huge public gathering,” said Jamaat spokesperson Zahid Ali.
According to him, Lone ensured that Dr Rafi’s mother had the last glimpse of her slain son. The funeral had witnessed some unknown youth, who had hurriedly laid a black flag on the slain’s body attempting to “take over” the funeral. The ousted Hizbul Mujahideen militant Zakir Musa, who claims to have established his own outfit namely Ghazwat-ul-Hind, had appealed to people to replace the Pakistan flag on militants’ bodies with the black flag emblazoned with the Kalima. Though the majority of people have not paid heed to his call, a handful of youth have been forcibly trying to lay black flags on bodies of militants. Their attempts have mostly been resisted by people.
“These detentions are quite retributive and unfounded under any civilised human law,” Zahid said, and demanded unconditional release of all political detainees languishing in jails.
Zahid also said that Jamaat-e-Islami district president Gulzar Ahmad Bhat of Uranhal along with his son Aqib have been shifted to district jail Mattan under “false and concocted grounds under the directions of a police officer having personal grudge against Jamaat-e-Islami.”
“Gulzar Ahmad had gone there to seek the release of his son but on hearing of his association with the Jamaat, he (the police officer) got furious and immediately ordered his arrest without assigning any reasons,” Zahid said.