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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

A differently-abled ‘stone pelter’: Separatists, police spar over Kashmiri prisoner

Tanvir Ahmad War has been lodged in jail on charges of pelting stones on security forces. War, however, has told KJKLF chairman Yasin Malik that said he can’t walk without the help of a crutch.

india Updated: Dec 03, 2017 22:56 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Police fire teargas shells as they chase away stone-pelting mob during a clash at Batmaloo in Srinagar.
Police fire teargas shells as they chase away stone-pelting mob during a clash at Batmaloo in Srinagar.(PTI File Photo)

An incarcerated differently-abled person has been at the centre of war of words between separatists and police in restive Jammu and Kashmir after his imprisonment came to the fore recently.

Tanvir Ahmad War has been lodged in Srinagar central jail for the past one year on charges of pelting stones on security forces. But his condition was made an issue after chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Muhammad Yasin Malik came across him at the Srinagar central jail on November 27.

Malik was put in the jail that day after separatists had called for a strike against “ill-treatment” of Kashmiri prisoners.

Police said War was spearheading the mob violence that rocked the state last year, a claim refuted by the separatists, who termed the confinement as human rights violation.

Taking exception to the imprisonment, the JKLF in a statement on Saturday said War had told Malik during their chance meeting that a polio attack in his early childhood damaged his legs and he could not even take two steps without the help of a crutch.

“He was taken into custody by police on September 21, 2016 on the charges of pelting stones on occupational forces and police and despite being handicapped he was tortured severely in police custody. After about two months of illegal confinement, he was slapped with PSA (Public Safety Act) and sent to jail,” the statement alleged.

Malik questioned the government how could a man who is unable to “walk two steps” without support could be “implicated in stone pelting cases.”

He has appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Amnesty International and other international human rights organisations to take note of these “gruesome acts of human rights abuses”.

However, a police spokesman on Sunday said that War, a resident of north Kashmir’s Baramulla, was involved in 16 cases of “instigating and engineering mob and street violence”.

“The accused was actively involved in 2016 unrest in Baramulla old town moving around on a tricycle provided earlier by army as a goodwill gesture,” the spokesman said.

“This person despite his disability has been making good use of his tricycle to travel and headed a gang of stone pelters who would help him in undertaking his antisocial activities,” he added.

He would decorate his tricycle with Pakistani flags and make announcements from public address systems instigating people for violence, the spokesman said.

Police also claimed that War and his ‘gang’ had once even carjacked four trucks loaded with stones and unloaded the materials on roads of old town Baramulla to block the entry of security forces.

Police also accused War of “compelling” the separatist leader Sheikh Aziz to lead the procession during ‘Muzaffarabad chalo’ march in 2008 which ultimately led to his death.

Aziz was killed in an alleged firing by the government forces in Uri (Baramulla) while he was leading the march on August 11, 2008.

First Published: Dec 03, 2017 22:56 IST

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