Death Trap

The notorious Tihar jail has virtually become a death trap for Kashmiri political prisoners where they are being abused, tortured, and humiliated and harassed day in and day out. The sprawling Jail in the west of New Delhi is known for its brutality and notoriety across the region. It is the most populated prison of India where murderers, criminals and high-profile gangsters are detained. Scuffles between the inmates, killings and riots are a normal routine. During the recent years, deadly gang clashes in the prison have resulted in the deaths of many inmates. But for Kashmiri prisoners, as one of the Kashmiri prisoners who spent nearly 12 years in Tihar Jail put it, is a jail within the jail. Narrating his horrifying experience in the hail he says Kashmiris are kept in high-security cells where they face many restrictions, physical and mental torture.

In Tihar Kashmiris are being treated differently, they are seen and treated as terrorists, anti-national and anti-state, even the most dreaded criminals who have committed serious crimes treat Kashmiri prisoners as Desh-Druhis (traitors) and they consider it as their national duty to abuse them, verbally and physically. For Kashmiris as a nation Tihar Jail has a bitter history that will continue to haunt hearts and minds of Kashmiris. It is the same jail where two renowned Kashmiri freedom fighters Shaheed Maqbool Bhat and Muhammad Afzal Guru were hanged to death and buried inside jail premises. Bhat was sent to the gallows for raising banner of revolt against Indian occupation and Guru was put to death to satisfy the so-called collective conscience of Indian nation.

Presently, the high security prison, houses scores of Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders and resistance activists including Shabir Ahmed Shah who spent a major portion of his life in Indian jails for his political beliefs. Shah suffering from multiple ailments too claimed threat to his life in the jail. Castigating Indian authorities the DFP secretary general in a hurriedly called press conference in Srinagar told the reporters that Shah has been kept among criminals and this poses a serious threat to his life. In October 2017, two Kashmiri prisoners were beaten up and injured in a fight between members of two groups lodged in Tihar Jail. A day before yesterday as many as 18 Kashmiri prisoners including the son of UJC chief Syed Sallahudin were thrashed by security staff inside Delhi’s Tihar jail.

Joint resistance leadership condemns thrashing of Kashmiri detainees in Tihar jail and termed it as inhuman and a flagrant violation of basic human rights. Voicing its serious concern over reports of thrashing of prisoners the leadership in a joint statement said that the ghastly act has put the lives of all Kashmiri political prisoners at risk. Lambasting Indian authorities for their bigoted mindset they said that these cowardice attacks are being carried on their directions.

Given the alarming situation it is high time that the world human rights organizations should come forward and play their role to ensure safety and security of Kashmir prisoners in Tihar Jail that is fast turning into a death-trap for Kashmiri prisoners.

About Arif Qureshi

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