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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

‘7 Kashmir youth without food for 10 days in Punjab jail’, families seek help

Seven Kashmiri youth, who are lodged in a jail in Punjab for the past two years after they were arrested in a militancy case, are without food for the last 10 days, their families have said.

Shahid Qayoom, Fazil Bashir, Aamir Nazir, Yasir Rafiq, Zahid Gulzar, Suhail Ahmad Bhat and Mohammad Idrees Shah, were arrested in Mohali in connection with a grenade blast case in 2018. They are currently lodged in Kapurthala jail in the northern Indian state.

On September 15, 2018, four low-intensity blasts took place at Maqsudan police station in the Jalandhar district. Four “very low intensity” bombs were thrown at different areas of the police station — the main gate, inside the complex and outside the munshi room — at around 7:45 pm, injuring the SHO and a constable.

Bhindranwale Tigers Force, a Sikh insurgent group, had issued a circular to the media, claiming responsibility for the attack.

Three other accused Rouf Ahmed Mir, Ummer Ramzan and Rasik Ahmed Mir were killed in an encounter on December 22, 2018, at Arampora village in Awantipora, Jammu and Kashmir.

The families of seven youth staged a protest at Tral and demanded their immediate release.

The protesters including men, women and children while raising slogans in favour of justice, pleaded for their innocence and said that they were students and have nothing to do with militancy.

They said that they have been knocking doors of every authority since 2018 but to no avail as nobody has listened to them or offered any help.

“Our beloved are being subjected to torture at Kapurthala jail,” they said.

“They didn’t eat food at the jail for the last 10 days and authorities will be solely responsible if their condition deteriorates or any untoward incident happens to them,” the families said.

After the blast, the seven people, who were students at various colleges in Punjab were arrested and subsequently a charge sheet was produced by National Investigation Agency against them in October 2019.

The NIA said that the accused were associated with Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind and they had carried out the attack on the directions of its then commander
Zakir Rashid Bhatt alias Zakir Mussa, who masterminded and guided the attacks.

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