Free Waqar Ahmad
The text below comes from the FREE WAQAR CAMPAIGN, freewaqar.org
Waqar Ahmad Moharkan was born in Indian-held Kashmir in 1990. Currently, he is a final year student of Bachelor’s in Commerce at Srinagar’s Islamia College of Science and Commerce. Waqar was arrested on 4 October, 2011, during a raid on his house in Lal Bazaar on charges of participating in protests in the Downtown area of Srinagar. Waqar was arrested by police personnel from MR Gunj station. The court allowed his bail application on 23 October, 2011. Instead of being released, he was rebooked by same police station and shifted to Central Jail under judicial remand on 15 December, 2011 and suddenly slapped with the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).
The government, to quell the voice of dissent in Kashmir, has misused this act rampantly in the last three years.
Waqar Ahmad alongwith three primary school students in Indian jail
Waqar was deliberately not given a translated copy of the grounds of detention which would otherwise have enabled him to make an effective representation against the order of detention.
The Police passed the PSA without informing Waqar’s family, who had the right to challenge the act in court. Waqar’s family was only informed about the PSA after the time to legally challenge the act had expired. This is illegal. He was lodged in Police Station MR Gunj and was illegally shifted to the Cargo Interrogation Centre for two days.
Waqar’s PSA stated,
“You have frequently come in the adverse notice of the police for your involvement in anti-social activities aimed at disturbing the public tranquility and peace in the city. You are instrumental in mobilising the anti-social elements for creating havoc in so far as causing serious law and order problem is concerned which inevitably besides endangering human life also causes impediments in the smooth economic development of the state. Your said acts are aimed at keeping the state on boil and thereby bringing about secession of J&K from Union of India. It has also emerged that your such nefarious designs are being carried out in a well thought out manner to bring the whole Downtown area to a stand still.”
These charges are not only baffling but also completely ridiculous.
The police, in the order, went on to say, “You are misusing your freedom/liberty and are indulging in activities which are prejudicial to the maintenance of security of state causing economic destabilisation in the state since last three years, you developed contacts with the like minded people affiliated with various anti-national and other disgruntled elements and has formed a gang like outfit which at every available opportunity have been found resorting to stone pelting and disturbing the public order in the area.”
On 5 November 2011, Waqar was shifted to Central Jail in Srinagar under a 10-day judicial remand. Since then, Waqar has been denied a trial. Even after the end of the remand, Waqar was held in the overcrowded Central Jail and then shifted back to Police Station MR Gunj in December 2011.
Waqar’s father filed another application in court for allowing him to appear for his annual examinations held by the University of Kashmir.
The court passed the orders to the police for granting him permission. However, due to the police highhandedness, Waqar missed his English paper despite the order. The lawyers said this was a “non-enforcement of his legal, fundamental and constitutional rights”.
Pertinently, Police claimed to have taken the decision to release Waqar, whose full name and address was specifically mentioned, alongwith 30 other youth on the direction of an amnesty from the Chief Minister, according to a news item published on the 6th of Nov in Kashmir’s leading Urdu daily Aftab. The youth were handed over to their families according to the news piece.
In December 2011, Waqar’s father received a call from concerned the police station informing him that the boy will be shifted to Kotbhawal Jail overnight.
Kotbhawal Jail is 300 km from Srinagar and the distance has made it extremely hard for his family to have access to him and to enquire about his well being, thereby completely isolating him psychologically and physically.
It is said when a person is detained under a preventive law, he cannot be lodged more than 300 kms away from his place of residence, thereby flouting a law pronounced by the Supreme Court.
This is an urgent appeal to civil society all over the world and campaigners of human rights, justice and liberty, to help spread the word about Waqar’s wrongful, illegal and oppressive treatment at the hands of the Indian state.
Please spread the word on all social forums to pressurize the Indian state in releasing Waqar. Incessant campaigning and collectively raising our voices against this injustice is the only way to FREE WAQAR.
From Kafila archives:
- A ‘lawless law’ that keeps dissidents ‘out of circulation’ in Kashmir
- Uthao, uthao video ab, won’t you make the video now?
- An open letter from a photojournalist assaulted by Indian security forces in Kashmir: Yawar Kabli
- Thinking Truth and Reconciliation in Kashmir: Shuja Malik
- Z for Zalim: Semiotics and the Occupation of Kashmir
- An open letter from Amnesty International to members of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly