'Dont Detain Kashmiris Without Informing Us'12 September 2011
Srinagar: In an obvious attempt at damage control in the wake of embarrassment caused by the arrest of several Kashmiri youth from Rajasthan and other Indian states on flimsy grounds and their subsequent release, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday shot off letters to police chiefs of various states urging them not to detain any Kashmiri without informing it. On instructions of the chief minister, Omar Abdullah, the director-general of police, Kuldeep Khoda, has written to the ATS chiefs of Delhi, Mahrashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab to take the state police into confidence before detaining any person from the state. The move comes in the wake of detention of two Kashmiri youth at Alwar in Rajasthan after the recent Delhi High Court blast. They had been detained ostensibly due to their alleged resemblance with the sketches released by the government after the blast even as they were not even remotely linked to any objectionable activity. The DGP urged the ATS chiefs of the states to inform the state police immediately incase they had to detain any Kashmiri for investigation. Speaking at the National Integration Council chaired by the prime minister at New Delhi on Saturday, the JK chief minister had made a particular mention of Kashmiri students and traders being harassed in various Indian states. Appealing to the chief ministers and ministers of various states present in the meeting, Omar had emphasized the need to keep students and traders of Jammu and Kashmir, attaining education and engaged in economic activities outside the state, above suspicion giving them due respect. He urged them to ensure this important aspect in their respective states. Talking to the local news gathering agency, KNS, the state home secretary, B R Sharma, said that after recent Unified Headquarter meeting here, the chief minister had conveyed to the chief ministers of various states to make sure that no Kashmiri was ‘harassed’ in their states. Confirming the missive, the DGP told the local news gathering agency, KNS, “We have asked them to inform us in advance in case somebody has to be detained. We asked them that only in case of extreme emergency anybody may be detained,” he said. On the Delhi blast probe, the DGP said five out of seven people detained had been released. “Only two are in custody and they are being questioned,” he added. It may be recalled that during his stint as the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, the union health minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, had on several occasions taken up the issue of routine harassment of Kashmiri youth, traders and even patients in various Indian states with no less a person than the prime minister besides the chief ministers of around a dozen states. Even then, well placed official sources told Kashmir Observer, there was no respite from the harassment Kashmiri youth and traders were being subjected to in various states. “They are being hounded and harassed in various states, particularly in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat and UP, MP and Himachal,” he said on condition of anonymity, adding that “on the one hand New Delhi is pretending to address the deep seated alienation of Kashmiri people but on the other their harassment had become a routine with the law enforcing authorities in several states.” Meanwhile, protests were reported from Kishtwar town of Jammu region on Monday over the arrest of seven people in connection with the email claiming responsibility for the Delhi high court blast. Although the police had claimed those in custody were safe, the cleric of a mosque, Farooq Ahmad Kitchloo, called for a shutdown. Reports said tension prevailed in the town following rumors that one of the detained persons had died in police custody. People came out in protest on Monday morning demanding they be shown all the arrested people. Two of the seven held are teenagers, Shariq Khawat Bhat and Abid Husain after which several parents told police they apprehended their children might be picked up, reports said. Police have released the owner of Global Internet Cafe, Mehmood Aziz Khwaja, and his brother, Majid Aziz Khawja, who had been detained by the NIA after the purported HUJI mail was traced to the cafe. The police said it was still investigating the case and could arrest or question more people in the next few days.