Srinagar, Sept 24: In Indian-admin Kashmir, a former banker, who had found a novel way of holding an indefinite fast while in detention over stone hurling charges last year, was again picked up by Indian police, his family in south Kashmir’s Islamabad-Anantnag district says. Atif Ahmad Sheikh, 26, who worked as a banker with HDFC, before being arrested for stone hurling in 2011, was picked from his home from Janglat Mandi area of the district this morning, his father Ghulam Hassan Sheikh says.
“Police knocked at our door at around 8:00 in the morning. They took him away saying the Deputy Superintendent of Police wanted to speak to him,” he says.
Atif, who was sacked by the HDFC bank, after his second detention, works as a driver these days. “My son is innocent. His has already faced enough hardships, detention, atrocities. He was now living a normal life. He sold his wife’s jewelry and bought a load carrier,” says his father.
Atif was again detained third time during protests over anti-Islam film in the region in September, last year. During his detention he sat on a hunger strike and was released after Kashmir Dispatch ran a story on him.
His father say Atif’s two-year-old son, Ahrar, is ‘restless’. “We are in the state of mourning. Ahrar, is restless without his father. He is calling him again and again. Where is Abu,” says Hassan
He says: “Few days ago, his son spoke to media about police atrocities while he was appearing for a hearing in a local court. And, that is why police detained him.”
In 2010, when Kashmir witnessed mass anti India protests and clashes, Atif was first time arrested by police and sent to Joint Interrogation Center (JIC) where he was kept for few days. He was then booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) and was shifted to Kot Balwal Jail, Jammu.
His PSA was quashed on December 2010 and was released in January 2011 from detention.
After his release he got a job in HDFC bank but on Eid-ul-Adha of 2011 when the town witnessed pro freedom protests and clashes he was again arrested for allegedly participating in protests. It cost him his job.
Deputy Superintendent of Police, Tanveer Jeelani, Sadder Police Station, where Aatif is detained says: “He is a leading stone-thrower….a Jamaati, involved in stone-throwing on forces.”
He says: “On Saturday, last week, Atif appeared in court and while coming out he along with other youth resorted to stone-throwing on forces near Mehandi Kadal in Anantnag. We were told he was leading stone-throwers.”
He says: “Atif’s family’s claims are baseless.”