Defunct legal aid cells? Scores languishing in outside state jails

SRINAGAR: Families of those whose dear ones have been languishing in different jails across India are finding it difficult to remain in touch with them owing to the long distance while most of them have no resources to visit outside state.

Scores have been languishing in Tihar, Rajhstan and other jails while some have been convicted for life. Some of the Kashmiri prisoners include Ghulam Qadir Bhat (Dooru), Professor Muhammad Shafi Khan Sharati, Javaid Ahmed Khan, Abdul Gani Goni (Doda) Mehmood Topiwala, Ali Muhammad (Hasanabad), Maqsood Ahmed Bhat (Pattan), Mushtaq Ahmed Malla (Hand¬wara), Farooq Ahmed Sheikh (Doda), Parvez Ahmed Mir and Feroz Ahmed both residents of Tral Pulwama, Abdul Hamid Teli of Kulgam, Latif Ahmed Waza, Nisar Ahmed Mirza and Mohammad Ishaq Paul of South Kashmir’s Shopian district.

Muhammad Ishaq Paul was a minor when he was arrested by police in Shopian district. Paul from Aloora Shopian al¬legedly a Hizb militant was con¬victed and sentenced to rigor¬ous imprisonment for life under section 302 RPC. Police station Zainpora had registered a case of murder against him in 2005.

Senior leader Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Noor Muhammad Kalwal told CNS that the family members had produced all the document that proved Paul was a minor when he was arrested.

Families of almost all the convicted persons blame India especially Delhi police for implicating their dear ones in false cases.

Ghulam Qadir Bhat, 60, hailing from Dooru, area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Court on the charges of hatching a conspiracy to eliminate high profile personalities. Her daughter Mubeena is fighting a lonely battle for the past 12 years to get her father released from Tihar Jail.

Family members of some inmates said that Hurriyat Conference has let them down. “The Hurriyat Conference had formed a legal aid cell but that is virtually defunct. Those who are part of that cell sometimes stage ceremonial protest but on ground nothing is being done to aid and assist the families of the Kashmiri prisoners,” said Nazir Ahmed.

JKLF leader Noor Muhammad Kalwal said that Kashmiri lawyers feel helpless while pleading the cases of these prisoners outside Jammu and Kashmir. “The legal aid cells created by separatist organizations consult lawyers and the cases are being pleaded in the court of law but outside state, these legal aid cells have no influence,” he said.

Noor Mohammad Tantray, Parvaiz Ahmed Mir, and Feroz Ahmed Bhat were allegedly found guilty under various sections of IPC, POTA and Explosive Substances Act, and were also fined Rs 50,000 on January 4, 2011.Calling them “merchants of death and destruction”, Additional Sessions Judge R K Gauba sentenced them to life. Delhi Police arrested these three Kashmiris on August 31, 2003 from Delhi, while they were carrying a truck loaded with apples from Valley. Police claimed they were active members of Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group. A few years later Noor Muhammad Tantray was released on parole while Mir and Bhat are still languishing in Tihar Jail.

Similarly, there are scores of people from Kashmir Valley who have been languishing in different

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