Amnesty asks Govt to release Nowhatta boy
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, Nov 19: Amnesty International (AI) has castigated the Jammu and Kashmir Government over the detention of 14-year old Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh of Nowhatta, who was arrested on the charges of stone pelting and subsequently booked under the Public Safety Act. The AI has demanded his immediate release or to be treated in accordance with the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child,
Pertinently, Greater Kashmir on Tuesday had reported that Mushtaq belonging to a poor family was arrested on April 21 on the charges of stone pelting and subsequently booked under the PSA. The paper also reported that police had shown Mushtaq as a major and illiterate.
Pertinently, Mushtaq, the lone brother among 7-sisters was the sole breadwinner of his family. He has been doing petty jobs ranging from a bus conductor to street vendor to support his family.
“The authorities claim that Mushtaq was part of a large crowd which threw stones at police and forces in the state capital Srinagar in April, as part of the ongoing unrest in Kashmir. Police say that Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh is 19-years-old but his family claim that he was born in 1996 and is 14-years-old. Prison records reportedly confirm that he is a child,” Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director stated in a statement.
"Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh must either be charged with a recognizable criminal offence or released immediately. If he is charged, he should be treated in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, held and tried in special facilities for children."
Zarifi said Mushtaq was first arrested in Srinagar on April 9, released on bail after 8-days and rearrested on April 21. “His family was not officially told that he had been detained but found out about it through a local resident. Initially held at Udhampur Jail, Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh is now lodged at Kot Bhalwal Jail in Jammu. Both prisons do not have special facilities for detaining children. Prison conditions in Jammu are harsh with limited health care,” he said.
He said earlier this year the Amnesty International had discussed Mushtaq’s detention at a meeting with the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah and the State Human Rights Commission.
“To date, despite their assurances, nothing appears to have been done. Mushtaq is detained under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act – a law that allows the authorities to hold people for up to two years without any judicial review,” he added.
The Amnesty stated that this year at least 322 people are reported to have been detained without trial under the act. “A number of them, including children, have been detained on similar grounds of stone throwing and rioting during protests against the Indian government. Over the summer demonstrators in Jammu and Kashmir voiced their concerns about the lack of accountability of the security forces; the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and the removal of Army camps – along with the underlying demand of independence for Kashmir,” it added.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 19 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 19 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
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