MUDASIR Ahmad Sheikh, an unassuming farmer, recalls the night of June 20, 2020, when a posse of police raided his family house at Rampora Qaimoh, Kulgam and left after a few hour-long search operation.
His militant brother Tawseef Ahmed Sheikh was killed in an encounter with armed forces on May 06, 2018.
In the morning, he says, the family received a phone call from the Wanpoh Police Station, calling his father Abdul Salam Sheikh, his mother Naseema Banoo and his younger sister to the police station.
“We sent our father and mother to the police station but our younger sister wasn’t home,” Mudasir told Kashmir Observer.
“But while my father was sent home, my mother was booked under the UAPA.”
As the news spread, it evoked a massive condemnation. JK police drew flak from netizens for “targeting family members of militants without evidence”.
However, IG Kashmir, Vijay Kumar Sunday said that police don’t target family of militants without evidence.
“Sister of active terrorist Abbas Sheikh and mother of killed terrorist Tausif, Naseema Banoo was arrested on 20 June 2020 in FIR 30/2018,” Kumar said in a tweet.
The duo, the top cop said, were involved “in recruiting youth into terrorist ranks”.
Naseema Banoo, police said, was arrested in a “criminal case with FIR no 30 of 2018 registered under sections 13B, 17, 18, 18B, 19, 39 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act”.
“The arrest was done in compliance with provisions of law and she has been under legally sanctioned custody in women police station Anantnag ever since her arrest,” the police statement reads.
Earlier, Naseema appeared in a 2018 photo, where she can be seen toting an automatic weapon and posing next to her son.
“The photo is just the beginning of her criminal involvement,” police said. “She is involved in much more serious offences and her role has surfaced in recruiting at least 2 youth into terrorist ranks, arranging arms ammunition, communication and logistics for terrorists and terror organisations.”
But according to Mudasir, who is one among the three sons of Naseema, the 2018 picture, termed as the “incriminating material recovered”, cannot be grounds for her detention.
That day in 2018, Mudasir said, Naseema had gone to meet her son and ended up posing with his gun.
“Every other militant family in Kashmir has pictures of their slain sons,” he said. “Should they make these as basis to arrest family members of militant now? This is shocking.”
Mudasir now fears for his younger and absconding sister. “She might be detained and booked under fabricated charges,” he said.
“This is collective punishment,” the grieving son added. “How can my 65-old mother recruit militants, and even if she did, why wasn’t she detained earlier?”
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