JKSM Protests Harassment Of Former Militants
22 January 2008
Srinagar: Jammu Kashmir Salvation Movement (JKSM) activists observed a sit-in hunger strike today here in Lal Chowk Srinagar, to protest the repeated detention and “harassment” of former militants in the run up to January 26. Putting up a cage resembling a lock up, draped in black blankets, the activists said that they are being repeatedly detained under PSA and harassed by the government agencies and “pushing the released militants towards gun”. Chairman JKSM Zaffar Akbar Bhat told etala’at, “We are protesting today against the harassment of militant turned politicians who are being harassed and booked by police under PSA on January 26. This replica of a prison is to impress upon the international community about the inhuman treatment meted to the detainees and released militants who are always detained by police during India’s Republic day and Independence Day celebrations.” Akbar added “We shelved gun only after both government of India and international community promised us a fair trial and assured that Kashmir issue will be resolved through peaceful means. However all these claims are false and they are trying to hoodwink international community. By asking the released militants to report to the police stations and army camps with their photographs on January 26 and they are forcing to take up gun again.” He said that the government agencies detain the released militants for activities for which they had already completed their period of detention and book them under PSA. “Despite court orders quashing the detention of released militants, the police and other government agencies keep them in detention and book them under PSA and file the same FIR on which they were held earlier.” The members said that the released militants are denied the basic rights and hurdles are created in to their religious obligations. “We are denied passport and other facilities and even restrictions are imposed on our travel and other religious obligations. They are interfering into our religious affairs by denying the passport which bars us from performing hajj and other activities,” said a member. The members said that “Kashmiris are being harassed everywhere. Even the students and traders who work outside Kashmir are not spared and are thoroughly frisked and held for investigations in Delhi and other places on January 26 and August 15.” The members expressed resentment on the deteriorating condition of Kashmiri detainees languishing in various jails of India. “Kashmiri inmates are treated inhumanly in various jails of India particularly at Kotbalwal and Tihar jail and are not provided with basic amenities. They are tortured regularly and not produced in court on the days of hearing. The repeated torture has taken toll on their health and many inmates have turned physically weak,” Bhat said.