Delhi based, senior Kashmiri journalist Iftikhar Gilani was kept under house arrest on Saturday by Delhi Police. After he was set free later in the afternoon, he issued the following statement:
“At 10:30 AM I was just putting my bag in my car to leave for office, two persons approached me and asked for the house of Geelani sb. I asked them which Geelani sb, thinking they could be from some courier agency? They replied that Kashmiri leader, who lives somewhere in the colony. I told them he lives in another block and tried to make them explain directions. One of them requested, if I can accompany them.
So I did. On the way, they told me they are from Delhi Special Cell. When we reached at JD18 E block of Khirki Ext. I saw a crowd of plain cloth men in the gulley. I just pointed out to first floor and asked these people there lives Geelani sb. As I started to withdraw, they grabbed me and said they need few minutes to talk to me. And virtually started dragging me to first floor flat and took away my belongings. They could not trace my phone till them..Upon reaching the flat, I saw many more people inside..and they got busy with talking to some other person. In between, I managed to go to bathroom and sent SMS to my office. When I was back from bathroom, they noticed phone and took it away.
After 15 minutes, I saw they were escorting my wife also to this flat. I got worried, my children were alone at my house. I repeated told them, whey they are detaining me. All the time, they were quite very rude, threatening and warning me of dire consequences. I also pleaded with them, even if they want to detain me, detain me at my own home or a police station. Why they brought me here at someone else’s home?
After five hours, I saw many voices from outside..One officer type person came and shouted my name and then announced you are free and you can leave this house. In the by-lane I saw my office people and some other friends had arrived. They had used every available contact in home ministry and Delhi police. When I reached my home, some 7-8 people were there in drawing room and living room and they had kept my children locked in bed room.
When we reached there, they started leaving one by one. And my children were terrified and recalled how these people banged the door and asked them to confine themselves in bed room.
I have no issue with what government wanted to do to maintain law and order. But though Syed Ali Geelani is my father-in-law, but repeatedly in public domains, I have said, I have nothing to do with his politics. I owe my living to journalism for over past two decades in Delhi. It was ridiculous on the part of authorities to behave like this. I am so scared. I have tried my best to raise my children in an atmosphere of peace and compassion. I have no idea, what should I do to prove myself a peace loving and a law abiding citizen.