SHOPIAN: It has been more than a year and a half since Muhammad Yousuf Falahi was arrested in Nowgam, Srinagar, after the Valley rose against the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in July 2016. The three minor children of the senior Hurriyat (G) leader are desperately waiting for their father to come home for this Eid.
Muhammad Yousuf Falahi (Ganie), a resident of Shopian’s Chitragam village, was district president of the Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference and, according to family members was arrested on December 13, 2016, from his rented residence in Nowgam. He has been languishing in jails since, including in Kathua jail of Jammu.
Family sources said that he was arrested in cases about his involvement in gathering crowds at different places in South Kashmir areas and making provocative, anti-government speeches.
Falahi’s wife Rayhana Yousuf told Kashmir Reader that her husband had spent more than ten years in different jails of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The day he got arrested, he was shifted to Kathua jail within hours, even without trial; the police didn’t even let him take clothes with him neither did they tell us where they were shifting him,” she said.
Reyhana continued that the authorities were not allowing them to meet her husband. “Despite the intense checking and searches at Central Jail in Srinagar, they never allowed us to meet him face-to-face but forced us to sit two walls away from him and talk,” she said while adding that her husband is not a criminal but a political prisoner who should be allowed to have all things mentioned by human rights bodies.
She said that all she knows is that her husband has ten cases at Police Station Shopian. “There can be more, but I have no information about that. Recently detention of my husband was quashed by court, but he was re-arrested and brought to Shopian where we got a chance to meet him,” she said.
Rayhana told Kashmir Reader that all she can do is take care of her three children-two sons and a daughter. She said that her elder son is studying in Class VI while the two younger children are in class I since they are twins. She repeatedly said that recently when her husband was brought to PS Shopian, he was again put behind bars as if he were a criminal and would flee the police station.
“Recently a top police officer told me ‘don’t think about his release, not so long as I am here in Kashmir’, as if it was his personal issue with my husband,” she added.
The family of the jailed leader is accompanied by Falahi’s father-in-law in their single-storey house at Chitragam village.
Locals from the village said that the family was making both ends meet with the help of apple orchards they own.
Villagers told Kashmir Reader that Falahi should be released in the shortest possible time so that his kids do not suffer, both in terms of a happy life and their education.