Living life under PSA

Manzoor Ahmad Khan, 28, lost his father and wife while he was in jail under PSA. His release, the family says, seems a distant dream despite bail orders from the court, Syed Asma reports.

Manzoor was arrested in February 2010 when he left his home to see a doctor in Rainawari. “We did not know that he had been arrested,” says Rafiq, Manzoor’s younger brother. “Then after two days we got a call from an unknown person who told us that he (Manzoor) is in Khanyar Police station. When we rushed there and asked for Manzoor, the police denied. Only after repeated visits to the police station, the police admitted that Manzoor was in their custody.”

Manzoor’s lawyer calls his client’s detention ‘illegal’.

“Despite bail orders from the court his detention continues. When he is bailed out for one charge, another charge is imposed on him immediately,” says Hamid Shafi, Manzoor’s lawyer. “In our state we have an open FIR system, anybody can be charged for anything at anytime,” says Shafi.

“Manzoor was arrested because he was involved in unlawful activities,” says Rashid Malik, SHO, Khanyar Police Station. The police have told his family that he was a part of Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s rally on December 10, 2009. He was arrested on February 23 the same year. He has been detained under section 188 RPC and is charged with 13 unlawful acts and booked under PSA on March 8, 2010. The detention order was later quashed by the state High Court on December 8, 2010.

Manzoor, a resident of Rangapora, Srinagar, is in the jail for last one and a half years.

“After granting bail against an FIR from Police station Khanyar, he was shifted to Maharajung police station with a new FIR lodged against him. Then he was shifted to Shergadi police station. With every new FIR lodged against him, I come up with a new bail order but all in vain,” says Shafi.
A new FIR is lodged against him in Maisuma Police Station under sections 307, 147, 148, 336, 332, 427 RPC. All are bailable offences except 307, attempt to murder.

“Here in Kashmir, pelting a stone on a armed gunman is considered as an attempt to murder,” adds Shafi.

In December last, Manzoor’s father died of brain hemorrhage and wife, with whom Manzoor’s nikah was solemnized just a few days before his arrest, died of cancer. Manzoor could not attend their last rites.
“For a long time we tried to hide it, but he learnt about it later,” says Rafiq.

Running from one jail to another with the bail orders is not new for Manzoor’s family. They have been doing it since Manzoor was a teenager. When he was young, he joined the militant group Hizbul-mujahideen. “He never went to Pakistan and was trained in Kashmir,” says Rafiq.

“We have had many army and police raids during night. Manzoor would mostly remain away from home but police and army always used to keep an eye on us,” says Taja Begum, Manzoor’s mother.

“Due to these night raids my husband’s health began to deteriorate. Even our relatives suggested us to leave our home and migrate so that they don’t have to suffer either,” says Rafiq.

Manzoor has been arrested many times in the past and booked under PSA.

“First time he was arrested in 1997 and put in jail for 18 months,” says Parvaiz, Manzoor’s youngest brother.

After his release, he again joined HM and continued to work with them till he was again arrested. When he was released after two years, he decided to leave the gun start a new life.

He again joined the family business of leather jacket-making which he was a part of before becoming a militant.

Manzoor’s family alleges that even after leaving the gun, he was not allowed to live in peace. “He was frequently picked up by the police and Special Task Force (STF). They wanted Manzoor to join them, but he did not,” says Rafiq. Later, he joined Hurriyat (G) and is presently associated with them. “He joined Hurriyat because he wanted to get rid of STF and it worked because they stopped bothering him again,” says Rafiq.

Manzoor was managing a bookshop of the organization where Islamic books were sold but that is closed now.

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