PSA slapped on Kashmiri youth

SRINAGAR: A youth from Kashmir’s historic Old City, who was re-arrested in September, this year, has been slapped with the Public Safety Act that allows detention without trail for at least two years, over his alleged role in stone hurling protests, his family says.

Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh, who hails from Nowhatta’s Saidapora, was granted a bail by a court in Srinagar on September 27, but police didn’t release him, they say.

Mushtaq, who was first arrested in 2008 and slapped with PSA, has been shifted to Kupwor jail in North Kashmir. On earlier occasions, he was detained at Jammu’s Kot Balwal Jail.

He was arrested on September 19 on charges of stone-throwing. A mini-bus conductor by profession, he is a lone brother of seven sisters. After his arrest, his mother and sisters took to streets and held sit-in demonstrations to protest his detention. The area remained shut for two days.

“After Sadder court granted Mushtaq bail on September 27, he was re-arrested by police outside the court and was taken to the office of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) where he was kept for some time. We also went there, but initially police barred us from meeting him. Later, my mother and two sisters meet him,” says Mushtaq’s sister, Sakeena Sheikh.

She alleges police threatened them. “They (police) tell us that they would lodge another First Information Report (FIR) against him,” she says.

However, the police had denied the family’s allegations “We haven’t received any bail order yet,” the in-charge of Nowhatta police station, Showkat Ahmad, had said. There was no official confirmation from the police on invoking PSA. However, his family say that they were informed by some policemen that Mushtaq was slapped with PSA. “He was lodged at Raenwor police station  and has been shifted to Kupwor jail,” the family said.

He had, however, admitted that Mushtaq was in their custody. But the family said that the police have slapped a fresh PSA on him and shifted him to a jail in North Kashmir.

Mushtaq was first arrested in 2008 and was booked under Public Safety Act (PSA). He was shifted to Kot Balawal Jail in Jammu – around 300 kilometers from the summer capital Srinagar.

He was again arrested in 2010 and kept in prison for months.