Srinagar: Having been jailed in isolation, at solitary location, with no contact even with fellow inmates, the way it otherwise happens in jails or police lockups, senior separatist leader and Kashmir’s head priest Mirwaiz Dr Umar Farooq is under “mental torture”, the health experts here have warned.
“Long term incarceration particularly the solitary confinement is devastating to the psyche of a person. It leads to pervasive personality changes typified by alterations in regulation of affect, alterations in regulation of relationship with others and alterations in regulation of self perception, which in turn results into difficulties in mood and anger regulation and inability to trust,” a prominent psychiatrist, told Kashmir Observer.
The mental health expert said it was more of concern for a leader like Mirwaiz, who is struggling to get “justice for people of Jammu and Kashmir.”. “This is more so when your feeling about incarceration is of injustice and deprivation,” the mental health expert, who has been working on such cases, said.
Since August 25, Mirwaiz has been under solitary confinement. On the fateful day, he was picked up from his Nigeen residence, where he had already been under house arrest since July 8, when militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and his two associates were killed.
After being initially detained at the Nigeen Police Station lockup for a few hours, he was shifted to Cheshma Shahi sub-jail, where he continues to be confined alone since.
Sources in the Home department said Mirwaiz has been jailed as per the manual of Central Jail Srinagar. Sources said the separatist leader who heads the Hurriyat M, is under two-tier security.
In the inner security circle, comprises of a team from Central Jail Srinagar led by Deputy Superintendent of Police. The outer circle comprises of Central Reserve Police Force deployment.
Official sources said Mirwaiz has no contact with the outside world. “He has no access to phone than to talk of internet or other means of communication,” the sources said.
Only his family is allowed to meet him occasionally that too in accordance with the jail manual.
Amid this all, the senior separatist leader is bearing with his longest detention, in isolation. “This is a big trouble because otherwise if you are in a regular jail, you at least have regular interaction with other inmates. But here it’s like throwing a man on a small carpet-size island in the pacific,” said an official, asking not to be named.
Mirwaiz’s colleague and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik has been facing a similar situation, as he despite being a patient with multiple ailments including that in his heart, is often detained in isolation for the last three months.
In the latest, he was confined in a separate room at the joint interrogation center at Humhama instead of the Central Jail. Three days back, however, Malik was shifted back to Central Jail Srinagar.
His party colleagues said Malik was being subjected to mental torture through “sudden solitary confinements.”
“The world knows that he is a heart patient, and has undergone several surgeries, still PDP government is playing with his life, deliberately,” said a JKLF leader.
Mirwaiz on the other hand continues to be all alone. His close aide and Hurriyat M Media Head Advocate Shahid Ul Islam termed Mirwaiz’s detention as “human rights abuse.” “Political detainees are not tortured physically, they are tortured mentally and this is what he is being subjected to,” said Islam told Kashmir Observer.
Islam, a senior separatist leader and chronic diabetic, is himself under house arrest for over three months.
Last week, authorities extended detention of Hurriyat (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq till October 17.
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