JK Govt Feeling The Heat Of Khurram's Detention

Srinagar: Seemingly embarrassed by the widespread criticism over arrest of noted human rights defender, Khurram Parvaiz, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance has run into rough weather with the PDP seeking his release and BJP buying time, Kashmir Observer has learnt from the reliable sources.

Sources said after coming under severe flak the PDP leadership is feeling the heat over the detention of Khurram, a physically challenged rights activist, and has conveyed to its ally about rethinking in the party over its controversial decision of having booked him under the PSA.

Sources said last month the central and state governments unanimously decided to arrest Khurram and to subsequently book him under the Public Safety Act (PSA). “There were directives from the Union government that he needs to be booked and this was something which the state instantly agreed upon... But now that his (Khurram’s) detention evoked global condemnation, PDP is regretting the decision,” said a senior official in know of the matter, asking not to be named.

Sources said PDP asked its coalition partner to pick up the case of Khurram’s detention with the union government, which is under BJP’s rule. But the state chapter of BJP is understood to have asked the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, to personally pick up the matter with the central government as the former was not a party to the decision made for Khurram’s detention.

Sources said the Mehbooba Mufti led government subsequently picked up the matter with New Delhi. Seeking reconsideration of the decision, the PDP pleaded that Khurram’s detention has done “more damage to the state government than any benefit it was expected to bring.” The deliberations are believed to be on.

Insiders said ahead of Khurram’s arrest, Chief Minister had discussed the matter with her close aides, including a “Super Cabinet” comprising of some PDP ministers, their loyalist officials, and a former police cop, close to the Muftis. “That time, all of them had agreed to slap the PSA without any further delay or discussion,” the sources said adding otherwise official machinery in the civil administration was apprehensive of the fallouts of getting him booked under controversial law.

On September 16, the J&K Police arrested Khurram from his home in Srinagar. It happened a day after he was stopped in Delhi by authorities from boarding a flight to Geneva where he was going to attend the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) session.

Khurram Pervez (39), presently Chairperson of Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and Program Coordinator of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), was sent to Kotbalwal jail in Jammu.

On the fateful day, as per his family, the police officials from Kothibagh Police station summoned him to the police station because Superintendent of Police, Sheikh Faisul wanted to speak to him. “He called the SP and told him, he will come at 10 AM tomorrow,’’ a relative said.

However, he was arrested the same evening.  

A month on, “release Khurram” call has only gone shriller, across the globe. 
Noted international personalities like Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy and other 52 scholars, besides rights watch dog Amnesty International have already demanded his immediate release.

In their open letter, Chomsky and Roy called the move by the state government "symptomatic of the escalated repression in Kashmir by institutions of the state".


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