Aasiya Andrabi, aide arrested

Shifted To Unknown Destination

ARIF SHAFI WANI

Srinagar, Aug 28: Police on Saturday arrested the chairperson of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Syeda Aasiya Andrabi and her close aide during a raid on a house at Zakura in the City outskirts here on Saturday.
Pertinently Aasiya along with senior Hurriyat Conference (G) leader Masarat Alam have been spearheading the ongoing “Quit Jammu and Kashmir Movement” for over two months. Since the launch of the movement, Aasiya had gone underground to evade arrest.
Police said acting on a tip off, the Special Operations Group personnel accompanied by a posse of women cops cordoned a house at Zakura at around 1.00 pm and arrested Aasiya and her close aide, Sofi Fahmeeda. They were whisked to some unknown destination. Sources said the raid was kept so secret that even the local police was not aware of the happenings in the area.
Highly placed official sources said the police have been tracking Aasiya’s mobile to ascertain her location. They said though Aasiya had been constantly changing her locations, her mobile signals were last tracked to a residential house in Zakura. The Senior Superintendent of Police Srinagar, Aashiq Bukhari confirmed Aasiya’s arrest. “We had already registered a case against her. We were tracking her movement and finally succeeded in arresting her along with a close aide” the SSP said. However, he refused to
divulge the details about the charges. But sources said she has been lodged in the Women’s Police Station here and booked for “inciting people against the state and police.” Sources said she was likely to be booked under the Public Safety Act.
Sources said police has also seized Aasiya’s personal laptop and many mobile phones during the raid. Officials said police had formed special teams to arrest Aasiya and even raided many places in the City. They said police earlier this month had conducted an identification of some burqa-clad women at Parimpora when they had received reports that Aasiya will pass through the area.
Incidentally, Aasiya who has been endorsing the Hurriyat (G) protest calendar was at the forefront of criticizing the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah and New Delhi for killing spree in the Valley.
Aasiya was recently in dock after some New Delhi based newspapers accused her of double-standards for demanding passport for her elder son, Muhammad Bin Qasim to study abroad.
However she had vehemently denied the charges terming it as an attempt to divert attention from the ongoing situation in the Valley.

FAMILY WORRIED
The family members of Aasiya are worried about her welfare. “The police are not telling us where they have lodged Aasiya and Fahmeeda or for what charges they have been arrested. If anything happens to them, the Government will be responsible for the consequences. We will be taking legal recourse against the arrest soon,” Aasiya’s family told Greater Kashmir.

‘IT SHOWS GOVT’S FRUSTRATION’
The Dukhtaran-e-Millat has termed the arrest of Aasiya as Government’s frustration to curb the ongoing agitation. “Aasiya Bajee’s unflinching support to the Quit Jammu and Kashmir Movement had frustrated the authorities. Though her arrest is a big jolt to the movement but it will not deter our resolve to extend support to the just cause. We appeal the people to carry forward the agitation to its logical conclusion,” said the spokesperson of Dukhtaran-e-Millat Shaista Banu.
She said Aasiya has never compromised on her commitment to champion the cause of Kashmiris. “We salute her courage and countless sacrifices for the movement,” she added.

BACKGROUND
Born in 1962, Aasiya, a vociferous orator, graduated in Home Science from University of Kashmir in 1981. Daughter of a Unani doctor, Syed Sahabuddin Andrabi, Aasiya wanted to become a scientist and to move to neighbouring, Himachal Pradesh in pursuit of higher studies. But her brother’s refusal changed her destiny.
Her close aides said she used to spend most of her time at home and one day, by chance, read a book ‘Khawateen Ke Dilon Ki Bateen’ from her father’s library based on the rights and duties of Muslim women. She was moved by the status of women in Islam and this proved a turning point in her life. She learnt Arabic to propagate the teachings of Islam.
Aasiya formed the Dukhtaran-e-Millat (daughters of the community) in the eighties. However, after the eruption of militancy, she spearheaded a reformist movement among women prompting a ban of her organization. Around the same time, she found a match in Muhammad Qasim alias Aashiq Husain Faktoo, then a commander of Jamait-ul-Muhajideen.
However, the couple couldn’t stay together for long. They were arrested along with their newborn, Muhammad Bin Qasim. They were booked under Public Safety Act and shifted to Jammu Central Jail. Her husband was booked under Terrorism and Disruptive Act and given life sentence. Despite passing of over 17 years in jail, he has not been released yet.
Over the years, Aasiya has been arrested and booked for various charges. During the Amarnath land row and subsequent killing of over 60 youth, Aasiya led massive protests and was again booked under the PSA. She remained in custody for over six months. Though, the High Court quashed the PSA and released her, Aasiya was again arrested after she staged protests against the Shopian double murder and rape in 2009. She along with her associates were booked under PSA.
Aasiya’s fame even reached Bollywood and inspired filmmakers to depict her life in films. But she halted their efforts by threatening legal action against the producer.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 28 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 28 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST




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