20-year old Bijbehara boy booked under PSA

The government has booked a 20-year old boy under Public Safety Act (PSA) for “following in the footsteps” of his father, a Jamat I Islami (JeI) member who has been evading arrest ever since a crackdown was launched against the politico-socio-religious outfit. The boy has been shifted to a Jammu jail.

Aaqib Gulzar, a second-year BA student, according to his kin, was picked up by the government forces from his house at Uranhall village of Bijbehara last month after they couldn’t locate his father- Gulzar Ahmad Bhat, Ameer e Tehsil, Jamat for Anantnag.

Bhat’s house was raided after the government launched a crackdown against the Jamat and detained more than 400 of its top and middle rung activists in the valley.

Anticipating his, arrest Bhat had fled from the home. However, the forces arrested his lone son instead.

“On the night of February 24, forces raided our house and asked for my husband. As we were not aware of his whereabouts, they instead picked up my only son,” said Rafiqa Akhtar, 45.

Aaqib was taken to police station Bijbehara and later to district jail Mattan Anantnag.

Charging him as “being a threat to the maintenance of public order” Aaqib was last week booked under the PSA and shifted to Kathua jail in Jammu.

The family, however, contested the charge alleging that he was booked only because his father is affiliated to Jamat.

“Yes he might have participated in protests on certain occasions but never ever has he resorted to violence. They only arrested and booked him because they could not locate my husband,” says Akhtar.

The mother of two daughters, Akhtar is worried about the safety of his son and the anxiety has deepened further following the custodial death of Rizwan Asad Pandit of Awantipora.

“Ever since he was shifted to Kathua, I have not slept at all. And after the custodial death incident (of Rizwan Pandit), my fears are growing,” says the worried mother.

The police dossier of Aqib accuses him of being a “chronic stone pelter” and a “member of Jamiat u Tulba”, the student wing of Jamat.

“Whereas you are a chronic stone pelter, having secessionist tendencies from an early age. You are following (in) the footsteps of your father, who is Tehsil President Jamat. You yourself are a member of the youth wing of Jamiat E Tulba, a student wing of Jamat and your activities are highly prejudicial to the peace and public order,” the dossier reads.

It has also accused Aaqib of instigating the people to resort to violence. “In, the year, in the backdrop of braid chopping incidents 2017 you lead the mob armed with sticks which resorted to violence by at Uranhall along the national highway. The police tried to pacify the agitating mob, however, they didn’t pay heed and continued with sloganeering against state and Union of India (sic),” it reads.

In this regard, it says that a case FIR no 172/2017 stands registered against the accused in Police station Bijbehara.