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Srinagar Central Jail incident: Inmates go on hunger strike, ‘refuse’ to meet family

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Apr 15: Ten days after the Srinagar Central Jail violence, the inmates Monday began their indefinite hunger-strike to press for their demands including withdrawal of FIR against them in connection with a recent incident inside the prison.

On the night of April 4, at least two prisoners were grievously injured in pellet firing by paramilitary CRPF, which was called in to deal with the inmates, who, as per the authorities, were protesting and “rioting” against their shifting from the existing barracks.

The authorities eventually filed an FIR against the inmates and also set forth an investigation into the incident.

 

The prisoners have not met any of their family members since the incident, even as the jail authorities claim that the inmates themselves don’t want to see any visitors.

Official sources told The Kashmir Monitor that the inmates have now gone on a hunger strike to raise their demands.

“The hunger strike began from morning today. The inmates demand transfer of Jail Superintendent besides withdrawal of FIR registered against them in connection with the incident during the intervening night of April 4 and 5,” sources said.

A father of a prisoner languishing in the jail for the last two months said he was worried about his son.

“Since April 4, the family members are not being allowed to meet their children. I have been visiting continuously but not being allowed to meet my son,” he said.

He added that he along with his family members were apprehensive about the well-being of their son.

“The security men at gate don’t allow us to enter the premises. They have been saying that prisoners don’t want to meet their family members. How is it possible?” he questioned.

Brother of another prisoner, who has been languishing in the jail for the last 11 months said that it was totally “unacceptable” to deprive parents from meeting their children.

 “Since April 1, I along with my mother made several visits to jail but couldn’t meet my brother. We are worried about him, for nine months he was lodged at Kathua jail. For the last three months, he is languishing in Srinagar central jail,” he added.

Superintendent, Central Jail Srinagar, Mukesh Kumar, confirmed that the inmates were on a hunger strike from Monday morning.

Asked about the family’s claims, Kumar, said the inmates themselves did not want to meet any of their family members.

On Friday, a team of J&K High Court Bar Association, Srinagar visited central jail Srinagar to meet the detainees and under trial prisoners in the wake of April 4 incident.

The bar association, in its statement, said that its team met the Jail Superintendent and other jail officials.

Kumar, as per the Bar statement, narrated the sequence of events that led to the April 4 incident, adding that its members found that the incident has led to communication breakdown between the inmates and jail administration.

 “For the last ten days, the inmates are not meeting any of the visitors or relatives. They are not being provided any newspaper or access to any media like TV or Radio. They even are not meeting lawyers,” the statement read.

“It was after a great difficulty and long wait that bar members were able to interact with the inmates. After deliberations, the bar members found that inmates feel that a conspiracy has been hatched against them, they also feel that state has adopted hostile attitude towards them for political ideology and thought,” the statement read.

 “In addition, they also feel that they will not be allowed to prove innocence before any enquiry officer. They fear that they may be shifted to some jail, outside the valley so as to prolong their detention,” the Bar team observed.

During their interaction with the bar members, the jail inmates, as per the Bar statement, demanded that April 4 incident should be enquired into by the High Court and the enquiry should be supervised by a sitting judge of the court.

They further demanded that FIRs registered against them by the jail authorities should not be allowed to be investigated, until the enquiry is completed by the high court.

In addition, the inmates, the statement added, also demanded that they should be allowed to file counter FIR’s and the members of International Red Cross (IRC), SHRC, IHRC, Amnesty International(AI) and Asia Watch(AW) be allowed to visit the jail at an  earliest so that the evidence which is available at the spot is not destroyed or damaged by the jail.

“If our demands are not met, we would commit suicide inside the jail, the responsibility would come on to the government,” the inmates were quoted saying in the Bar statement.


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Voter turnout in Bijbehara, Anantnag a lesson for Mehbooba : Omar

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Kulgam, Apr 24: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said that the low voter turnout in Anantnag and Bijbehara is a lesson for PDP and Mehbooba Mufti.

He asserted that the ensuing elections are significant since it provides the people of the state an opportunity to reveal how passionately they feel about their identity including Art370, Art 35-A.

Addressing two separate public meets at Chawalgam and Homeshalibug, Kulgam party vice president said that the threats of BJP-RSS to abrogate Art 370, Art 35A will be defeated as the people of the state will not allow them succeed in their nefarious designs. “ Today state is facing an assault on its special status from all sides, however all the machinations of the forces as are inimical to our status will fall flat if the people of our state show resoluteness in protecting the identity and integrity of our state. This time people across the state have taken it upon themselves to trounce the efforts as are hell bent to destroy the special constitutional status of the state,” he said adding, “Today’s elections is not about choosing MLA’s, today our state is fraught with a challenging situation. The need of the hour is to send a representative to Parliament who can fight for the interests of state, the situation that the state is facing today demands of having a credible voice at Delhi who can work tireless both within and outside parliament for the protection of Art 370, Art 35-A. Seeing the scope of work and the challenges we are facing, we considerately fielded Retired Justice Hasnain Sb from Anantnag constituency. He is known for his pronounced judgments on Art 370, Art 35 A. He boasts the necessary political and legal acumen to deal with the situation.”

 

While highlighting the importance of Art 370, Art 35 A, Omar said, “It is needless to say how important Art 370, Art 35-A are for the state and its people. Today the people of our state are masters of its own land. They work on their land, and derive their sustenance from it. God forbid, if these articles are done away with, the consequences that will follow shall be beyond our comprehension. The people of the state will stop to cleave to a respectable denomination which Sher- e- Kashmir bestowed upon them through famous land to tiller reforms and other people friendly measures. Our kids would not be able to derive various scholarships from government. The youth of our state will cease to be the sole beneficiary of jobs in government sector. Keeping in mind the far-reaching consequences of abrogation of our status, we deemed it fit to have Hasnain Masoodi represent us in parliament from Anantnag.”

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Mehbooba demands release of Yasin Malik

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday demanded the release of separatist leader Yasin Malik.

“Yasin Malik should be released immediately as he is really unwell. Also other members of Jamaat-e-Islami should be released. Sadhvi Pragya on whom there are several serious accusations has been set free,” Mufti said.

Delhi’s Patiala House Court Wednesday sent Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik to judicial custody till May 24 in connection with a 2017 alleged funding case.

 

Mehbooba also lodged a note of protest against a slew of measures brought about in the valley recently.

“After the encounter, families of militants are harassed and the cross LoC trade which was taking place through Muzaffarabad has also been stopped. The National Highway is closed for traffic for two days in a week and security forces are interfering in the daily life of people. We are protesting against all these issues,” she said. 

Elections in the state are staggered in five phases which began on April 11 and culminate on May 6. The counting of votes will be done on May 23.

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Rains lash Kashmir; weather to improve from today

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Rains continued to lash Kashmir since Tuesday evening, bringing the average temperature down in the valley.

The local meteorological department predicted improvement in weather conditions from Thursday evening.

The rains began on Tuesday evening and continued intermittently till this evening. The rains in the Valley led to dip in the temperature.

 

Deputy Director MeT, Mukhtar Ahmad said that the weather conditions in Kashmir would improve from Thursday evening.

He said the light rainfall would continue intermittently till Thursday evening following which there will be improvement in the weather.

Ahmad said that in plains the weather would improve from Thursday afternoon while in higher reaches it will start improving from the evening.

Meanwhile, an official in Meteorological department informed that Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 12.0 degrees Celsius Tuesday night against 8.9 degrees Celsius normal for this time of the season.

The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir received 3.9 mm of rain since overnight till 8:30 hours, he said.

The official said that Qazigund, the gateway town of Kashmir, recorded a low of 10.8 degrees Celsius and had a rainfall of 6.8 mm while the mercury in Kokernag town in south Kashmir settled at a low of 9.2 degrees Celsius and it had 8.6 mm of rains during the time.

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