Families of Kashmiris lodged in Tihar jail narrate their ordeal


Families of Kashmiri prisoners who were assaulted recently inside Tihar jail in New Delhi today staged protest here demanding their shifting to Kashmir.  
Terming the recent incident of thrashing as tip of ice-berg, the aggrieved families said “every time they met their loved ones in Tihar, “torture tales” were the only thing to be heard.”
Staging protest at Press Enclave in Lal Chowk, they alleged that “whenever they tried to give fresh clothes and blankets to their wards lodged in Tihar, the jail authorities and security either tear apart the things or take them for their personal use.”
The parents of Ahtesham Farooq Malik and Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, the duo who were among the four Kashmiri prisoners thrashed inside Tihar on 21 November were among the protestors demanding immediate shifting of all Kashmiri prisoners back to Kashmir prisons. 
To mention, four Kashmiri prisoners including Shahid Yousuf, the son of United Jehad Council (UJC) chief Syed Salahudin were thrashed inside Tihar on 21 November.  
“Whenever I met my son in Tihar, he told me that he is subjected to torture,” said Farooq Ahmed Malik, a resident of Sopore in Baramulla district. “I remember my last conversation with my son. He told me ‘Abu get me out of this hell’ as he is facing worst torture by jail authorities.”
Malik alleged that the condition of all prisoners lodged in Tihar is same. “Kashmiri prisoners are facing a  ill treatment. No medical aid is being provided to Kashmiri prisoners let alone other facilities,” said Malik. 
He alleged that fresh clothes and blankets meant for his son were stopped by the jail authorities. “At times, the jail security tears apart the clothes or other material meant for the Kashmiri prisoners. We are treated as suspects despite the fact our children are rotting inside the notorious prison,” Malik rued.
Recalling his one of the visits to Tihar, he said, “I was subjected to frisking for hours, made to stand in queues, forced to reply dozens of queries, frisked from head to toe and not allowed to carry anything along. I met my son in an iron-made room fitted with a glass only for 30 minutes. He has turned pale and very weak.”
Ahtesham was recently produced in a court in Sopore and treated for the head injuries. “He was kept in Kashmir for only two days and shifted back to Tihar in an injured condition. He was beaten to pulp for his no fault.  It were the pictures of my son that went viral on the face book.”
A little kid, the nephew of Ahtesham, who was also part of the protest, demanded his uncle should be shifted back to Srinagar. “I miss my uncle. Government should shift him to Srinagar jail,” he said. Ahtesham was a Bio-technology student and arrested by the Delhi police in February 2012. 
Participating in the protest, Abdul Hameed Lone of Kanelwan, Bijbehara in Anantnag district, whose son Mushtaq Ahmed Lone was also thrashed inside highly fortified Tihar recently, said “every prisoner has a torture tale to narrate.”
“The Tihar prison is worse than Guantanamo bay,” Lone said. “Bones of my son were broken in the recent assault. This is what was reported in the media, but there is more to what we saw recently. My son was just a six-month old groom when he was arrested by the NIA in June 2014.”
He said Tihar jail authorities never allow packed food, fruit, clothes or blankets. “In the name of security, they tear apart clothes and other stuff, which never reaches to prisoners. This is the fate of families of all those lodged in Tihar,” Lone said. He said every time he met his son in Tihar, “tears were the first thing to be exchanged.”  “I can tell you with authority no prisoner in Tihar is safe. We feel terrorised whenever we visit the prison,” he said.  
Lone urged the state government to play its role in bringing back all the Kashmiri prisoners back to Kashmir. Since 2014, Lone has been saving money every month to meet his son in Tihar. “Honestly, I have no money this time to visit Delhi to meet my son,” said Lone, a farmer. 
“I tried to call my son on the landline numbers given on the website of Tihar jail, but no one picks up phone there.” He said if his son calls, the call gets disconnected in two minutes. 
“Big favour J&K government can do the families of prisoners lodged in Tihar is to shift them to Srinagar Central Jail,” he said.

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