Sordid saga: Languishing in custody since 2006, Verinag youth booked for stone pelting
So far HC has quashed 13 PSA’s against him, but he continues to be in jail
Anantnag: A youth hailing from Verinag belt of Anantnag district is languishing in jail from the last 12 years as he is accused of hurling a grenade at Kapran during a government function. The youth according to the family is being booked under the dreaded Public Safety Act (PSA) even though his family says that he has not been released since 2006.
Peerzada Ashraf son of Peerzada Ghulam Nabi a resident of Batgund village a very far off village about 3 kms from Verinag in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district continues to remain in jail and mostly outside the valley from the last 12 years.
Ashraf was arrested in 2006 in connection with a grenade attack in July 2004 at Kapran Anantnag.
The grenade blast had left a senior official dead while as two civilians and a cop also lost their life during the incident.
Ashraf at that time was student of B. A 3rd year at Boys Degree College Anantnag besides he was working as a daily wager in R&B department, said his brother Firdous.
The prime accused in the case was Syed Murtaza who was arrested soon after the incident, however, he was set free as he was granted bail after being jailed for two years, he added.
Notably, the local police continue to book Ashraf under PSA, one after another, despite the court granting him bail in year 2011, he said while adding that all the witnesses (mostly government officials) recorded their statements before Principal sessions judge Anantnag however, no one identified Ashraf as the one involved in the attack.
For demanding justice for his brother, Firdous says he himself was booked under PSA twice under arms act 7/25 and he alleged that forces always target him whenever he raises his voice for seeking justice for his brother.
“So far High Court, Srinagar has quashed 13 PSA’s of Ashraf,” he said while adding that Ashraf was charged under FIR no 305 of 2011 at PS Anantnag under sections 144, 1407, 148, 336, 120 B, RPC on charges of stone pelting despite the fact that he was never released since 2006.
“Despite getting bail in every case, police continues to keep him under detention. We approached every local politicians including Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Omer Abdullah, G.A. Mir and others, however, so far nothing went in our favour,” he said.
“Tired at last we approached the state home department in 2011. The then Principal Secretary R K Goyal and another official Shahnaza Dilshad revoked the PSAs and directed the police to release Ashraf on 18-08-2011 under order no Home PB-V/1809/2011. However, he was not released,” his bother said.
Presently, he is in Hiranagar jail and authorities are not producing him on time in court and he is produced after a lapse of 3 to 4 months, said Ashraf’s brother.
“In 2018 we met BJP MLC Sofi Yousuf and he also assured help saying that he will take up the case with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. However, we are waiting to get a chance to meet him,” Firdous added.
“Though our elder brother was associated with militancy, however, Ashraf had nothing to do with it. After Ashraf was arrested we lost our father and mother died also but Ashraf was not even allowed to take part in funeral prayers of either of them,” he regretted.
Pertinently, seeking Ashraf’s release, the locals from Batgund and other villages including Verinag have been staging peaceful protests.
Markazi Auqaf President Verinag Farooq Ahmad while talking to ‘Kashmir Vision’ said that the locals have met so many high ranking officials regarding this issue however, everyone turns a deaf ear.
“The irony is that anyone who demands justice for Ashraf is arrested,” he said while adding that I he is associated with a political party and that being the reason he is spared.
“If at all he was involved in the incident he has been punished for too long. I think he has suffered enough as he is languishing in jail from the last 12 years,” he added.
He along with some other locals who had assembled on the spot demanded Ashraf’s release at an earliest.