Srinagar: The health condition of a Kashmiri Hurriyat leader Altaf Ahmad Shah arrested by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in May 2017 in the alleged terror funding case, is deteriorating in Tihar Jail, Delhi.
Despite court orders, the jail authorities are not letting Shah to go for a proper medical checkup, his family alleges. Families of the Kashmiri inmates allege that the Indian authorities are deliberately delaying the closure of the case.
“My father is a diabetic patient and is hypertensive. Around 3 months ago, a cyst had developed on his feet. The court had given him permission to go for a medical checkup but the jail authorities kept delaying it,” says Shah’s daughter Ruwa Shah adding, “We wanted to get him checked at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences but now they have taken him to some local hospital. He needs a proper endocrinologist.”
Altaf Ahmad Shah, alias Altaf Fantosh, son-in-law of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, is set to visit the doctor on February 9 now.
One more inmate arrested in this case Peer Saifullah had recently fallen in the jail washroom. “He has a brain tumour. The least the court can do is grant an interim bail to the inmates who are suffering like this,” says Ruwa believing that the case progress is unnecessarily being delayed by the authorities.
On May 16, 2017 a Delhi-based news channel India Today aired a sting operation by the name “Operation: Villains of the Valley-The Hurriyat Tapes” in which the accused leaders including Nayeem Khan can be seen allegedly admitting that Pakistan funds the Hurriyat. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India started investigating upon and questioning the accused leaders and some prime suspects. The questioning of the suspects continues, ‘despite their deteriorating health and lack of evidence against them’.
Eight Kashmiris were arrested, booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 and alleged money laundering offences by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED). They were sent to Tihar. There are eight jails in Tihar and each jail has two wards: General and High Risk. The most dangerous/ notorious criminals get placed in the High-risk ward. It’s where the Kashmiri inmates have been imprisoned. Among the other criminals there, Kashmiris never felt safe and had written a letter to DG Prisons on April 30th 2018 requesting him to keep them separate from other inmates.
The case was once transferred from the court of Additional Sessions Judge Justice Tarun Sehrawat to District and Sessions Judge (DSJ) Poonam A Bamba. With the transfer, the case status was back at square one.
“It has been around a year and a half. With the 13 thousand page charge sheet filed against them, nothing has been proved in the court yet,” says Ruwa adding that the way sometimes the judge is on leave, lawyers don’t come or hearing is adjourned before their lawyer speaks.
“letting them suffer medically and delaying their treatments is only a way of authorities to make them stay in the jail,” she lamented.