Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir – The members of the family of a teenage boy in Indian-administered Kashmir, killed in an alleged gunfight, have been charged below an stringent anti-terror legislation for holding an indication within the village “demanding the return of his physique”.
Ather Mushtaq, 16, from Bellow village in Pulwama, was amongst three males killed by Indian safety forces on December 30 final yr throughout what police described as a gunfight after the boys refused to give up on the outskirts of the primary metropolis of Srinagar.
Police stated the boys – 22-year-old Aijaz Ganai and Zubair Lone, 25, being the opposite two – have been “hardcore associates of terrorists” against Indian rule.
However Ather’s father Mushtaq Ahmed Wani says his son’s killing was a cold-blooded “faux encounter”, a well-liked time period used to clarify extrajudicial killings by the safety forces.
The native administration refused to return the our bodies of the three males to their households and buried them at a distant graveyard about 115 kilometres (70 miles) away in Sonmarg.
Underneath a coverage began in April final yr, authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir have buried greater than 100 alleged rebels in unmarked graves, denying their households correct funerals and including to widespread anti-India anger within the area.
‘World should see this oppression’
Wani on Monday instructed Al Jazeera he, alongside together with his two brothers, three different family members and the imam of an area mosque, “have been booked for demanding the physique of his son” below the Illegal Actions (Prevention) Act or UAPA.
“On Friday [last week], I together with others raised slogans in entrance of police officers close to the village mosque after prayers. I used to be simply demanding the physique of my son who was killed in a faux encounter. It was all a peaceable attraction to ask for my son’s physique,” he instructed Al Jazeera.
“If the police does this to a mourning father who simply needs his son’s grave close to his residence, the world should see this oppression.”
Wani stated they got here to know in regards to the UAPA case after some village elders have been referred to as to the police station and the imam was detained.
“Let the police impose all its oppression on me for demanding my son’s physique. I’ll proceed to ask for it even when it means standing alone until I’m alive,” he stated.
A senior police official confirmed to Al Jazeera that “seven individuals have been booked below UAPA” together with the boy’s father.
A police doc, accessed by Al Jazeera, says on February 5, 2021, the Rajpora police station acquired data “via dependable sources” that after providing Friday prayers at a mosque in Bellow village, a “violent” mob congregated.
“The mob was led by seven individuals to hinder the primary highway and have been elevating anti-national slogans towards the integrity of the nation,” says the doc.
“The stated individuals are organising such unlawful processions below felony conspiracy and are abetting anti-national components,” it says, including that an investigation is happening.
Final month, Wani dug a grave for his teenage son at his village, “as a mark of protest”, demanding that his physique be exhumed and returned for burial at his ancestral graveyard.
The grave stays empty.
Because the killing on December 30, Wani’s household has held a number of demonstrations to press the federal government for the return of Ather’s physique.
He was supposed to seem for his college examinations the following day, his household stated.
Mehbooba Mufti, the previous chief minister of the Muslim-majority area, expressed her outrage over the UAPA case on Twitter.
“After dropping his son in an alleged faux encounter, Athar Mushtaq’s father has been slapped with an FIR for demanding his physique. His crime was to stage a peaceable protest,” she posted.
“The inhabitants of Naya [New] Kashmir can’t even query a callous [administration] and have been lowered to residing corpses.”
In August 2019, India revoked Kashmir’s partial autonomy, imposed crippling safety lockdowns and communication blackouts on the territory and arrested hundreds of individuals.
Since then, India’s right-wing authorities has launched new legal guidelines and insurance policies that critics say are a part of a plan to populate the area with Indian settlers.
Authorized consultants within the area stated the UAPA was being misused towards the Kashmiris.
“That is one more occasion of the misuse of UAPA. Really, they aren’t flouting the legislation, they’re utilizing this legislation for the precise objective for which that is meant to be which is to create concern among the many lots,” lawyer Habeel Iqbal instructed Al Jazeera.
The UAPA was amended in 2019 to permit the federal government to designate a person as a “terrorist”.
Underneath the legislation, police can detain an individual for six months with out producing any proof, and the accused can subsequently be imprisoned for as much as seven years – provisions that rights teams name “draconian”.
Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan, however claimed in its entirety by the nuclear-armed neighbours who’ve fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan area.
Because the formation of the 2 nations in 1947, India has relied on its navy to retain management over the portion of Kashmir it administers.
Tens of hundreds of civilians, rebels and authorities forces have been killed within the area since an armed rebellion towards the Indian rule started in 1989.