SRINAGAR: Zamrooda Akhter is no ordinary woman. Not only has she been fighting her son’s case in and out of court for the last six months, but she also supports her family by cleaning people’s houses.
“From police station to court, I have been everywhere for my son’s release. He is the only earning hand I have as my husband cannot do anything for he is paralysed,” Zamrooda told Kashmir Reader.
“Belonging to a poor family is a curse,” Zamrooda continued. “My son used to feed the family but now he is in jail under PSA, and I have to make sure that I feed my family.”
Her son, Asif Ahmed Khushoo, a 20-year-old from Batamaloo, was slapped with Public Safety Act (PSA) on June 18 for his alleged involvement in unlawful activities. He is lodged at Kathua Jail, Jammu, but to the utter dismay of his family, their finances have made it impossible for them to meet him even once.
“I have not seen my son from the last six months,” Zamrooda said, “and it hurts me so much inside. I have no money to go there and whatever I earn during the day by cleaning houses, I spend on food and medicine for my family.”
The police dossier alleges that Asif is a habitual stone-pelter and has been involved in various unlawful activities.
The dossier says that “you (Khushoo) along with anti-social elements has led unruly mob on number of occasions who resorted to stone pelting falling under the jurisdiction of Police Station Batmaloo, thereby causing large scale law and order problems which have affected activities of common man.”
Meanwhile, the court a few days ago overturned Khushoo’s detention order by citing lacunae in the police dossier and non-representation of the detenue while he was detained under the PSA. Khushoo, however, has not been released yet.
Representing Khushoo’s case in court, advocate Mir Shafkat Hussain said, “That slapping of PSA has become a tool of harassment wherein from one detention, authorities slap another, and the cases go like that. Ultimately, what happens is that the person becomes radicalised because of the aggression of the State.”
Hussain said that the detention order passed against Khushoo indicates non-application of mind by the concerned authorities as, according to the FIR 68/2018 under which it was passed, Khushoo was already bailed out. Hussain stressed again that while the court quashes one PSA detention order, the authorities already have another one prepared, a trend that is bad in the eyes of law.
It is not only that detenues are suffering; families are at the receiving end too. Zamrooda has been helpless for all these months and laments that families are being punished without any justification.