The Background, New Delhi: Former Bureaucrat and J&K People’s Movement leader Shah Faisal was detained at the Delhi Airport on Wednesday afternoon and was sent back to Srinagar and has been put under house arrest now. He was detained under Public Safety Act (PSA). Faesal was bound for Istanbul, an official was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. One of his friends, however, has said that he was on his way to Harvard in the US.
His detention comes at a time when Kashmir is witnessing a communications blackout and hundreds of political leaders have been detained, ever since the Narendra Modi government decided to read down Article 370, revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcate the state. Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have been detained for 10 days now.
Faesal was stopped at the airport before boarding the flight and was detained under the PSA Act.
The J&K People’s Movement leader has been critical of the Centre’s decision.
Meanwhile, a fact finding team comprising of Kavita Krishnan from the CPIML (Liberation), economist Jean Dreze, Maimoona Mollah of AIDWA, the women wing of the CPIM and Vimal Bhai, a social worker spent five days inside the Kashmir valley.
In an interview to Huffington Post, Krishnan said, “Frankly, it looked like occupied Iraq or occupied Palestine.” She also said, “the situation is absolutely grim. Kashmir is under military siege. There are paramilitary forces on every street, outside homes, outside localities. The situation is really quite alarming. There is no scope for anyone to speak, no scope for peaceful protests. On the day of Eid, there was desolation. No one except tiny children were in festive clothing. They were not allowed to go to the mosque to do their prayers in rural areas. The azaan was not permitted so they just had to do their namaz at home. People feel a complete sense of anger and betrayal. There is helplessness, frustration.”
Eid in Jagbal, near Shopian. Credit- Fact-finding team
Kavita said, “We met people in villages all over Kashmir, where little kids have been… there is no other word to use… they have been abducted by the police. They have been picked up from their homes in the middle of the night from their beds and they are held indefinitely, illegally, either in army camps or in police stations. They are being beaten up. Their parents have no way of ascertaining whether their children will disappear or be returned. There is no case that is registered, no FIR. I can say that to every village we went, there were arrests that had happened.” She accused the Indian Media of not reporting such grievous incidents taking place there.
The team also shot a short film during their five days extensive travel in many parts of the valley including Srinagar. The film is called “Kashmir Caged”.
The fact finding team released a report at a press conference at the Press Club, New Delhi on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Congress leader P Chidambaram alleged that Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik invitation to Rahul Gandhi was not a sincere one. It was tool of propaganda.
Cover Photo- People queuing for gas in Sopore. August 11. Credit- Fact-finding team