Arrested from his residence on August 27, 2018, Aasif Sultan on Thursday completed two years in prison.
Working as an assistant editor with a monthly magazine, Kashmir Narrator, the jailed journalist faces charges of “complicity” and “harbouring militants.”
Aasif’s family has repeatedly denied these allegations and attribute Aasif’s arrest to a cover story he wrote on the rise of a popular Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani.
One of Aasif’s apprentice shared this letter that he received in September last year.
“He has been in jail for 2 years now. But he has not forgotten his students. Although, he struggles alone, behind bars, yet still cares for us and thinks about us,” said Aasif’s student, requesting anonymity.
The letter has been transcribed for our audiences here.
Bi-smi llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm.
Dear Little brother,
Asalamulaikum wa rehmatullah wa barakata hu.
Hope this letter finds you in the best state of your health and Imaan!
It has been a long time since we met each other. I hope and pray that you have busied yourself with your studies and have set a goal in your life— excelling in them. A goalless life is no better than the lives of cattle. They eat, drink, sleep, reproduce, and die. We are not created just for that.
You are a bright student who has capability, gumption and talent to touch new heights in your career. All you need is determination. In fact, we all need it.
Work hard to improve your physical and spiritual health. You have the responsibility of your younger brother. He imbibes everything from your character. So be careful with what you say and do in front of him.
You should also stop complaining about the circumstances and try finding ways to improve your standard in every aspect.
Life is too short to complain. We shall soon return to our Lord and, therefore, make haste to perform good deeds, shunning evil ones so as to be among the Right Hand people.
Hone your writing skills. Converse with your friends in English so as to improve your speaking skills. This can be done only when you engage in reading books, and a lot of books.
This is the best time to read as many books as you can. You are free from all distractions— no mobile phone, no Internet, no TV. Take advantage of this time before it flies never to return.
If possible, do write to me.
Aasif Sultan Sayed,
Central Jail Srinagar.
Committee to Protect Journalists, and nearly 400 journalists & civil society members have called for the immediate release of imprisoned Aasif Sultan.
As per CPJ, Police have subjected Sultan to repeated interrogation during his detention, including questions about why he reported on the conflict in Kashmir, why he had not reported on “development”, and questions about headlines that had appeared in the Kashmir Narrator.
Amnesty International has also urged the Indian Government to Free Aasif Sultan.
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