Jailed third time under PSA, packed to Kuthua as helpless family watches
ANANTNAG: Five year old Ahrar, in his lifetime, has seen very little of his 29-year-old father, Aatif Hassan Sheikh, and the equation is unlikely to change over the next few months, for Sheikh has been slapped with a Public Safety Act (PSA), yet again, for the third time.
Aatif has more than 50 cases registered against him, dating between 2007 and 2010, and he was at the Anantnag district court, on July 12, to appear for one of these cases when cops in civvies picked him up.
He has been slapped with a PSA-that had been signed in August last year-after a detention of so many days at police station Sadder in main town Anantnag, sources say.
“Aatif has been detained multiple times, since Ahrar was born. But this time it is different. Ahrar has started questioning his absence and it is painful to answer him,” Sami Jan, Aatif’s wife told Kashmir Reader.
Ahrar might get cajoled, temporarily, to forget his father’s long absences from home-which include jail and forced migration at times-Aatif’s wife and old, ailing parent’s have no such luxury.
“Sad part is parents cannot be cajoled with lies. Our son is not with us and that’s the truth that hurts, every single minute,” Ghulam Hassan Sheikh, Aatif’s father told Kashmir Reader.
In between the coaxing from his mother and his grandparents, Ahrar too has been inconsolable, however.
A small time Pharmaceutical dealer, Aatif is the lone son of his parents, both of whom are retired government employees.
“He has been trying very hard to build a life. But the government forces are not allowing him to do so,” Sheikh told Kashmir Reader.
Sheikh, the rest of Aatif’s family, his friends and all his neighbors believe that he is being victimized for promulgating a pro-freedom stance.
“He has not been involved in any kind of violent acts but still his name features in more than 50 FIR’s and he has been now detained thrice under the draconian PSA,” Aatif’s friend, requesting anonymity, told Kashmir Reader.
He said that every new police official in the town wants a piece of Aatif, “Every new police officer puts Aatif’s name in every FIR registered for stone pelting in Anantnag,”
“He gets treated like a criminal. He has been sent to Kathua jail filled with hard core criminals,” his friend said.
After getting detained multiple times between 2007 and 2011, Aatif lost his job in a private company. He then took to some menial jobs to support his family and was now running a small time Pharmaceutical dealing unit.
Aatif got married in 2009, his parents hoping that he will be spared of the frequent detentions.
But a few months into his marriage Aatif was detained under PSA. It was during this detention that Aatif was blessed with a baby girl, who could not live beyond a few days.
“That is the biggest regret I have in life. I could not even see her,” Aatif once told this reporter.
With his daughter’s loss, his mother’s paralysis and his father’s ailments the whole household came crumbling upon Aatif’s shoulders.
“He has been trying his best to help us, his family. But they do not want him to,” Sami told Kashmir Reader, “I want them to let us live in peace, is that too much to ask for?”
Aatif was shifted to Kathua Jail on Tuesday while Ahrar was in school.
His father though kept standing outside police station Sadder watching the police vehicle, Aatif was taken away in, as it moved beyond sight.
“My only fear is that they will push him too far, well beyond any point of return,” Sheikh said.