Crackdown on youth continues; 1400 behind bars

Police Using Unrest Garb To Harass Innocents’


Srinagar, July 28: Continuing with the crackdown to quell the continuing protests over the civilian killings, police has, to date, rounded up around 1400 youth including teenagers from across the Valley.
However, according to reports, alleged unrestrained actions by the police have started to backfire as human rights groups, lawyers and parents of the arrested persons accuse the cops of “harassing the innocents and earning quick bucks in the disguise of maintaining law and order.”
People, particularly in Old City areas, are accusing the police of making arbitrary arrests of the youth. “Police has arrested nearly 500 youth from various areas of the City, including minors who were either moving on streets or riding bikes on charges of stone-pelting. Some of them were released after their parents paid hefty amounts to the cops through activists of some political parties. The arrests have turned into a flourishing business for the police,” a group of locals wishing anonymity told Greater Kashmir.
The locals also accuse the police of forcing the families to make their wards “surrender.” “Police is acting in such a way as if our children are criminals. They detained the younger brother of a boy in lock-up for days together to force him to surrender. This is not policing but sheer harassment,” they said.
The locals said that the police have been conducting raids even during night in various areas of the Old City. “To evade the arrest on frivolous charges, the youth have been forced to migrate to other localities. The Government seems to be bent upon spoiling the career of our wards by implicating them in false cases,” they said.
Many parents whose children are in the police custody even refused to divulge their identity fearing reprisal. Sources said police have booked nearly 50 persons including minors under the PSA during past over a month. One of them, 15- year old Sheikh Arkam son of Shiekh Zulfikar of Jogilanker was shown as 19-year old in the detention order.
Arkam, an 8th standard student of GP Mission High School Rainawari, was arrested on June 17 and lodged in Rainawari Police Station. He was released on bail after seven days by the Principal District and Sessions Court here.
However, the family was taken by surprise when on July 3, the District Magistrate Srinagar had issued orders of his detention under PSA and the teenager was shifted to Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu.
“Whenever there is a strike call, you not only indulge in stone pelting but also motivate other youth in Rainawari area to indulge in such activities. By resorting to stone pelting you are acting as a catalyst in disturbing the public order,” Arkam’s detention order reads.
Arkam’s mother Tasleema maintained that his son is innocent. “He has been implicated falsely” she said.
Senior counsel, Mir Shafaqat Hussain, said many minors have been booked under PSA during past over a month. “To avoid public wrath and criticism from other fronts, the state government in detention orders wrongly mentions the minors as adults. For minors there was a separate Juvenile Act. State government can’t book a minor under PSA and lodge him with regular criminals,” he said.
Shafaqat said Government could not detain a person under PSA while he was out on bail. “Government can’t lodge teenagers with regular criminals in jail. Law does not allow it,” he added.
Shafaqat who is also the member of the High Court Bar Association, stated that over 1400-1500 persons have been arrested across the Valley since June 11 when protests broke out against the killing of Tufail Matoo.
Hurriyat (M) which was providing legal aid to those arrested during the ongoing uprising, said many minors have been implicated.
“I visited many jails in the City and found many minors lodged there. We have so far received hundreds of cases in which youth and teenagers have been booked under PSA and various other draconian Acts. On the directions of Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, our team of lawyers was pursuing the cases in the Court,” said senior Hurriyat (M) leader, Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam.
Shahid alleged that some Station House Officers have started minting money from parents of the arrested youth in exchange of their release.
The program coordinator of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, Khurram Pervez said, “the Government is using military might on the people fighting against human rights violations hoping that it will force them to forget and forgive.”
“But the fact is that it has further alienated people. People have every right to protest against the discrimination. Ironically, instead of punishing the perpetrators in uniform, over 1400 persons have been arrested so far. If Government believes in democratic principles, there is no harm in letting people to give vent to their resentment,” he added.
Pertinently, the arrest spree started since the Sopur Chalo on June 27 with police detaining hundreds of people while marching towards the Apple Town at Parimpora.
among other sections, they have been booked under various sections including attempt to murder and rioting.
Incidentally, the senior police officers have been refusing to comment over the arrest spree and allegations of harassment.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 28 Jul 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 28 Jul 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 29 Jul 2010 00:00:00 IST

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