A barrage of angry tweets has J-K chief minister reconsidering the case of Faizan Rafiq Hakeem, a boy booked under the harsh Public Safety Act (PSA) in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district for participating in street protests in 2010.
"It’s too border line a case to allow only a legal perspective to prevail. I’ll take a few days to consider all aspects and decide," wrote Abdullah in reply to a tweet "the government puts a 14 year olds in jails through the year & then wonders Y (why) kids r (are) throwing stones through the summer" by Raheel Khusheed, a blogger, who along with dozens of youth has started a 'Free Faizan' campaign on social networking sites.
The campaign has come just a day after the rights body Amnesty International (AI) submitted a report on the boy to the chief minister and home minister P Chidambaram. "A certificate provided by his (Hakeem’s) school records his date of birth as May 18 1996, making him less than 15 when he was arrested," said the AI report.
The police, however, conducted a medical test on the boy in Government Medical College Jammu on March 28 and claimed he was 17-18 years old.
The police allege Hakeem, a resident of Anantnag, 60 km south of Srinagar, was a part of a large crowd of protestors that pelted stone at security forces in four incidents in July 2009, June 2010, July 2010 and October 2010. Hakeem was arrested on February 7 outside his house and booked for rioting and other offences.
In February 12, a magistrate granted him bail on two charges. "Hakeem was, however, not released as the police decided to hold him in administrative detention – without charge or trial – under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act," said the rights body.
"Medical tests show him 2 B (to be) above 17. Law in J&K (has) a minor under 16. However in light of circumstances (I) am looking sympathetically (at the case)," wrote the chief minister on the micro-blogging site.
Dozens of youth barraged Abdullah on Friday with angry tweets seeking the release of the boy after the Amnesty report. "Dear @abdullah_omar, the need for a juvenile system in Kashmir is a crying one. Our young kids enter jails & come out brainwashed!," wrote a Tweet user.
"A country which spoke for Jessica (Lal) and Priyadarshini Mattoo is silent on the minor detained without charges in draconian PSA. How fair is this?" wrote another as the cause is picking up pace with social networking users.