From KO Archives | If There Is Hell On Earth, It Is Here

SRINAGAR- The devil himself could not have conceived of tortures more horrible. Security forces drenched a local imam of Rafiabad with kerosene, set him alight, and flung him half-dead into his home, with a dire warning of consequence! still more hide­ous if the family let out even a chirp about the incident. As the cleric hovers between life and death in hospital, his relatives say police have refused to reg­ister a case.

Locals say the 35-year-old imam, Ghulam Hassan Kumar, of Shalakot, Rafiabad, was arrested by personnel of the 28th Rashtriya Rifles (RR) last Wednesday evening when he was on his way to the mosque. The RR-patrol which picked him up had accused him of signaling away some foreign mili­tants, who they said, had been working near the place of wor­ship.

Residents of the area and the imam's relatives and neighbours say that Kumar's captors had torn off flesh from his arms and legs during his eleven-day-long 'detention'.

He was flung into a blazing fire, and when he crawled out badly burnt, he was put through another ordeal: kero­sene oil was poured on his chest, and set on fire again.

When he miraculously sur­vived the torture, the RR major set him free on February 15. Dumping the imam near his home, he was warned neither to go to a hospital nor to inform anyone else. Ghulam Hassan had been suffering his agony in silence, but seeing his condition deteriorate, some villagers and relatives mustered courage and shifted him to the Baramulla hospital. He is said to have sustained 90 per cent burns and doctors say his condition is critical. Relatives say they had tried to register an FIR but the police had refused to do so.

Meanwhile, Hassan has been shifted to the SMHS hospital here.

(KASHMIR OBSERVER, 22 February, 2001)

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