KL NEWS NETWORK
An orphan family from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district Friday alleged that security agencies have been forcing their sole bread earner Shakil Ahmed Bhat (28) to join militant ranks. Bhat, an orphan who is looking after his siblings and his wife was arrested by forces from his Lelhaar Kakapora residence on 18 November last month.
His family members told CNS that security agencies have been accusing Bhat of working for Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) but the reality is that he is “innocent and has nothing to do with militancy”. “After his arrest in November we have been facing hardships as he is the sole bread earner for us. We begged before our neighbours for money to pave way for his release but despite paying court fee and the Judge granting bail to him, he was not released,” they said.
“Shakeel Ahmed Bhat was arrested by SOG Pulwama on the charges of stone-pelting and working for militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba. After questioning he was handed over to police station Kakapora. Court granted him bail but he was re-arrested by police and lodged in police station Pulwama wherefrom he was shifted to Central Jail Srinagar. When court again granted him bail, he was picked him by Counter Intelligence Kashmir (CIK) at Central Jail gate and was lodged in Humhama interrogation centre. After few days he was again handed over to police station Pulwama and presently he is lodged there while all our efforts to pave way for his release have been proving futile,” the family members said and alleged that security agencies have been “pushing Bhat towards militancy”.
“Shakeel is not a militant but we are afraid the treatment he is getting from different security agencies will make him a militant. We are solely dependent upon him and we appeal the authorities to look into the matter,” they said.
Shakeel who is an orphan lost his father Muhammad Ramzan during a gunfight with Indian Army at Lelhaar in 1994. Muhammad Ramzan was affiliated with militant outfit Al-Jehad. “Owing his father’s connection to militancy, Bhat is being repeatedly picked up and detained by security agencies. Those who know Bhat personally can say you with authority that he is neither a militant nor a stone-pelter,” the family members said appealed DG Police to personally intervene into the matter.
A police official on condition of anonymity told CNS that Bhat “is not only the sympathizer of militants” but is also involved in various cases of stone-pelting and “other subversive activities”. “He was also responsible for pasting militant posters in different areas of the district,” he added.