Framed and Left to Rot in Jail

  • Aditya Sinha
  • Publish Date: Jan 19 2016 2:48PM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Feb 12 2016 6:57PM
Framed and Left to Rot in Jail

Our cover story for this issue is about the six ill-fated Kashmiris who were randomly picked up by the security agencies during their travels outside the state, slapped with false charges of their involvement in terrorism and then left to rot in prison for years and run the gauntlet of the endless trials before their eventual acquittal by the courts. There are scores of such people who have gone through such ordeals over the past 25 years, losing thus the best part of their lives to the extended incarceration for the crimes they didn’t commit. But while at the end of it they have been duly acquitted by the courts, none have been compensated for the lost period of their lives. What is more, the security personnel who falsely implicated them have gotten scot-free. However, to their credit, the victims have not lost hope but are rebuilding their lives. Engineer Farooq Khan from Janglath Mandi, Islamabad has spent 19 years in prison, 14 of which in Tihar alone.   Khan was working as a junior engineer in PHE mechanical division in 1996 when he was arrested on his way to Srinagar from Anantnag. However, he has no regrets. People in Kashmir, he says, have seen the worst. Similarly, a once prosperous fruit merchant from Bandipora has spent seven years in jail. Though badly ailing, he is now scared to go outside the state for treatment. Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, a cop, was also imprisoned for seven years. Their tragedies and the struggle to rebuild their lives are representative of the scores of their ilk. And in turn also representative of the larger tragedy of Kashmir reeling under the fallout of the political turmoil of the past quarter of a century which has left thousands dead in its wake. The cover story of this issue highlights this tragedy. We travelled to different parts of Valley to meet these people, now in their late thirties and forties, to get their stories and bring these to our readers. And these stories are told by them in their own words.

We also carry a revealing interview of late Ved Bhasin on Jammu massacre. Bhasin, who passed away recently, was a pioneering editor who institutionalised English journalism in Jammu & Kashmir. In this interview done by Khalid Bashir Ahmad on December 9, 2011, Bhasin talked extensively about how the violence in Jammu was planned and abetted by elements in the Maharaja Hari Singh’s Administration, including the State Army.

We also carry a heartwarming story on the first of its kind French bakery in Srinagar run by a Kashmiri French couple. There are other stories about young entrepreneurs and achievers which should inspire our youth to follow their passion.