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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Kashmiri detainee’s letter for the World

Under the draconian law, more than 400 Kashmiris held. It allows detention without trial for up to 2 years. The law, similar to Rowlatt Act against which founding fathers of India resisted, prevails in the largest democracy of the world

A letter from a Kashmiri detainee addressed to his family in Indian-administered Kashmir says he remains “confined to four choked walls”.

The detainee, held under provisions of the 1978 Public Safety Act (PSA), with another 22 Kashmiri men in an Indian jail, asks his family and friends to pray for him.

A copy of the letter available with Anadolu Agency says: “We are 23 Kashmiri brothers here and all of us are confined to solitary prison cells. Neither can we talk to each other nor can we shake hands but only remain confined to the four choked walls.

“Please pray for us as we are in helpless condition,” the detainee, who did not wish to be named, writes to his family.

The mass detention of thousands of Kashmiris began last August when the Indian government stripped the region of its special provisions.

Read more: How sick Kashmiris are surviving Indian lockdown?

From thereon, hundreds of people, particularly young men, have been lodged in faraway jails under the PSA Act, described by Amnesty International in 2016 as a draconian law. Three former chief ministers of the region have also been booked under the law, that allows the government to detain a person for up to two years without a trial.

The restive Muslim-majority state has been under lockdown for the last seven months.

While some restrictions have eased, high speed internet still continues to remain blocked in the region with a complete ban on social media.

‘Whole world shattered’

Ateeqa Begum, a widow from the region’s main city, Srinagar, has been on her toes since Aug. 6 when her 22- year-old son was arrested on his way to buy medicine.

“It has been 205 days when my son was arrested without any justification. I don’t know in what condition is he right now, it kills me when I think about it,” Begum told Anadolu Agency.

Read more: Pakistan’s diplomatic coup in India: Trump wants to mediate Kashmir

Her son, Faisal Aslam Mir is one of thousands in the region who was detained and moved to a jail in harsh conditions.

Mir’s imprisonment in Agra jail, 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) from Srinagar has left his mother at her wit’s ends.

“I want to cry aloud. I have not seen my son for the last seven months. My whole world is shattered now,” she said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a human rights group, said in its annual report that at least 412 people have been booked under PSA from Aug. 5 to Dec. 31.

Most continue to remain in jails as the high court in the region has overturned less than two dozen of detention orders since August 5.

Anadolu with inputs from GVS News Desk