Global rights bodies urged to visit detainees in IOK jails


SRINAGAR, June 20 (TNS): The High Court Bar Association (HCBA) while expressing concern over deteriorating conditions of detainees and under-trial prisoners in different jails of the occupied Kashmir has sought the intervention by international human rights bodies to mitigate their sufferings.

HCBA General Secretary, Bashir Siddiq in a statement issued in Srinagar said that the detainees arrested during 2016 mass uprising were firstly booked in different cases and later were detained under the draconian law, Public Safety Act (PSA) and lodged in jails.

He said, a two-member HCBA team after visiting Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu has compiled a report, which says that even those Kashmiris, arrested in 2016 and booked under draconian Public Safety Act have not been released despite the quashing of their detention quashed by the High Court of the territory.

The statement said that these detainees, lodged in different police stations, were not granted bail in cases registered against them. It said that the detainees had approached courts to secure bail, but their applications could not be decided as they are booked under the PSA again.

While divulging the details of the report, the HCBA General Secretary cited the case of a detainee, Tanveer Ahmad War, who was arrested on October 21, 2016 in Baramulla and was, later, booked under the PSA and was lodged in Kot Bhalwal Jail, Jammu.

PSA against him was quashed by the High Court on December 14, 2016 but instead he was shifted to Baramulla police station where he was kept under unlawful detention till he was again booked under the PSA on May 27, 2017 and was shifted back to Kot Bhalwal Jail.

“Tanveer Ahmad is a handicapped person and is unable to walk without crutches. He remains bedridden for the whole day, as he is incapacitated to move on account of his ailment,” he added.

The report also mentioned the case of another detainee, Assadullah Parray of Hajin, whose wife is dead and he is a father of six daughters. He is in detention for the past around three years. “His third PSA was quashed by the High Court on March 24, 2017 but instead of being released, he was again detained under the PSA on May 27, 2017 and was lodged in Kot Bhalwal Jail without considering the fact that he is about 50 years of age and one of his daughter is suffering from cancer and needs the presence of his father at home,” the HCBA General Secretary said while quoting the report of the two-member team.

The team also made a mention of repeated invoking of PSA against Hurriyet leaders, Ghulam Muhammad Khan Sopori, Aasiya Andrabi, Sheikh Muhammad Yousuf (80) and Fahmeeda Sofi and said that these detainees were not being released despite the fact that they were facing serious health issues in jails. The team noted that jail authorities were not allowing their family members to meet them.

The Bar Association while condemning the inhuman treatment being meted out to the detainees and under-trial prisoners, particularly to the old and ailing male and female prisoners lodged in different jails, asked the members of the International Committee of Red Cross, UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to send their teams to visit the jails of occupied Kashmir to take stock of the plight of the detainees.

The HCBA also demanded of the rights bodies to visit the detainees and suggest ways and means to provide relief to the old and ailing male and female detainees and under-trial prisoners, lodged by the ruthless administration at the behest of police in faraway jails to make their meeting with their family members, friends and relatives impossible and also to deprive them of receiving necessary medical aid and assistance.