Srinagar: The Kashmiris arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail have moved an application before the Director General of Prisons New Delhi to lodge them together in a single cell, or at least separate them from other prisoners who are in jail in criminal cases.
There are at least two-dozen Kashmiris imprisoned in Tihar Jail, most of them for the “terror funding case” being probed by the NIA, and some booked by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and for alleged money-laundering offences. The Kashmiri prisoners are currently lodged in various High Risk and General Wards of the jail.
The letter, a copy of which is with Kashmir Reader, argues: “Because we have been detained on political reasons prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir, therefore we should be lodged separately from other inmates with varying behaviour and different cultural backgrounds (from us).”
The letter has been signed, among others, by the imprisoned Hurriyat Conference (G) secretary-general Shabir Ahmad Shah, Hurriyat Conference (G) organiser Altaf Ahmad Shah (Fantoosh), and former Hizb-ul-Mujahıdeen commander, Muzaffar Ahmad Dar.
‘‘That by keeping the aforementioned (Kashmiri) inmates along with all kinds of other inmates especially from various cultural backgrounds, personal behaviours, we are feeling suffocated and very uneasy,’’ the letter reads.
The Kashmiri prisoners have asserted that they are peace-loving and abide by the rules of the jail. The letter mentions that the imprisoned Kashmiris are between 40 years and 60 years of age and most of them are suffering from various diseases including diabetes, spinal issues and hypertension.
The letter states that the Kashmiri inmates of Tihar Jail are “different” from other inmates by the virtue of culture and personal orientation, and that many of them have been engaged in academic and educational activities while also holding a record of good conduct.
Last year, in a series of raids the NIA arrested several resistance leaders, mostly from the Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference (G).
Those undergoing detention in the NIA case include Hurriyat Conference (G) spokesperson Ayaz Akbar, Tehreek-e-Hurrıyat Srinagar district president Raja Mehraj-ud-Din Kalwal, Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party chairperson and Hurriyat Conference (G) secretary-general Shabir Ahmad Shah, Jammu and Kashmir National Front chairperson and Hurriyat Conference (G) Jammu province head, Nayeem Khan, Hurriyat Conference (M) spokesperson Shahid-ul-Islam, resistance leader Bitta Karate, and businessman Zahoor Watali.