Srinagar, June 15, 2018 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, little siblings, Sughra and Azan, were expecting to spend this Eid with their father. But their hopes have been dashed. The father Sarjan Ahmad Wagay alias Sarjan Barkati, a cleric and a charismatic crowd puller, despite being bailed out by the court recently has not been released.
Barkati, a resident of Reban area of Shopian became a household name during 2016 mass uprising for his distinct style of sloganeering. He was arrested in October that year and subsequently booked under draconian law, Public Safety Act (PSA). The High Court of occupied Kashmir quashed his detention under the PSA three months later and ordered his release, but he was not set free.
The police after shifting him to the Central Jail Srinagar from Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu kept him under detention from time to time in various police stations in Shopian and Kulgam districts. He is presently lodged in police station Yaripora-Kulgam. According to the police dossier, Barkati was allegedly provoking the people against the Indian state and delivering speeches on Jihad.
The family while accusing the authorities of prolonging his detention said they were expecting him to be free before Eid after having been bailed out by court in all the cases. “As the court granted bail in one FIR, they (police) would come up with another FIR. At one time he had as many as twenty cases registered against him. The police are using every tactic to prolong his detention,” said Shabroza Akhtar wife of Barkati.
“He was recently granted bail by the court in his only remaining case in Yaripora. We all were expecting that he will be released. But when we went to Yaripora police station to bring him home we were told that he has another case pending against him,” a visibly dejected Akhtar said. She said the police have now taken him on remand on “frivolous charges”.
“Sughra, who is just 12, and Azan, seven-year-old, last year for the first time spent the two Eids in absence of their father. However, this time they were quite hopeful of spending Eid with their father. Both of them were eagerly waiting for their father and had made all arrangements to welcome him. So, when I reached home they inquired about their father. I had no answer but to keep on giving them false hopes,” said Akhtar with a heavy heart. Sughra, she said was excited to show the poems she has dedicated to her father but her joy was short lived.
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