September 2001 News

Rashid knows what being a victim is ever since he was sixteen

5 September 2001
The Indian Express

Srinagar: SHEIKH Abdul Rashid, Baramulla SP (Prisons), who’s now the Union Home Ministry’s target and has been stripped of his security, vehicle and accommodation after being harassed by the police, knows what adversity is. He was in prison himself. As one of two people implicated in the murder of a boy in Srinagar in 1968, Rashid was then only 16 years old. He was even sentenced to death and locked up in the Srinagar Central Jail. He insisted he was innocent and continued with his studies in prison—he graduated from there—until a local psychologist took up his case. First, his death sentence was changed to a life term and then after five years, not only was he freed, he was also appointed as an officer in the Prisons Department. And now perhaps his strongest defence comes from the man who was in charge of prisons then: former Director General of J&K Police M M Khajuria. ‘‘He was a young man and we watched him carefully. He was extremely gentle, his exemplary conduct and the circumstances of his case were such that made us take this unusual and landmark decision. He is very honest and clean.’’ Khajuria now hopes that the stand-off between Rashid and the Centre gets sorted out quickly. ‘‘I hope he tides this over,’’ he said. When contacted today, Rasheed said: ‘‘I have given my statement to the police, what more do they need from me? I have suffered a lot. My life started from a dark prison cell, I was wrongly convicted once before and then after keeping me imprisoned for five years, the Govt appointed me in the Prisons Dept. Because of my struggle, I have risen to the post of Superintendent. Now it seems my life is taking a U-turn.’’


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