Protests In South Kashmir Against West Bengal Death Penalty to Youth
SRINAGAR: Clashes and protests broke out in a south Kashmir village on Sunday against the handing down of death penalty to a local youth by a fast-track court in West Bengal last week along with two Pakistani nationals.
The family members of Muzafar Ahmad, one of the three accused who were held guilty under sections 121 (waging war against the state) and 121A (conspiracy to wage war against the Government of India) of the IPC, claimed that their son is being "framed".
Abdul Majid Rather, father of Muzafar, told The Citizen that his son had gone missing in 2002 when he was a minor, "We had filed a police complaint then but there was no trace of him. In 2007, we got to know that he has been arrested by police in Bengal," he said.
According to reports, Muzaffar was arrested while crossing into India along Bangladesh border. Security agencies accuse him of receiving arms training in Pakistan and also blamed the trio for planning to carry out "subversive activities" in the country.
"We went to meet him in Kolkata after the arrest in 2007 but the police only showed me his face from a distance. He waved at me and I broke down. I couldn't recognise him. He had been gone for a long time," Rather, who works as a labourer to feed his family, said.
He said the family has been in touch with Muzafar since his arrest in 2007, visiting him in a West Bengal jail once or twice in a year, since their stressful financial condition didn't permit frequent travel from Kashmir.
"The news (of death penalty) has shocked us. We went to meet him recently and he was hopeful of getting bail in next hearing (on January 21). It seems like a ploy to frame him. My son is innocent," Rather said.
The news of death penalty by the Bongaon fast track court of North-24 Parganas on Saturday evoked widespread anguish in the native Mohammadpur village of Muzafar where locals took to streets to demand his immediate release.
Police and paramilitary forced deployed in the village used force, including teargas, to disperse the demonstrators, causing minor injuries to some. Stone pelting was also reported from the village.
The other two convicted in the case are Mohammed Yunus and Mohammed Abdullah, both resident of Pakistan.
The probe, carried by police, has allegedly found that the trio are well-trained in using AK-47 rifle, hand grenades and manufacturing bombs. One of them has also been accused of involvement in an incident of bomb blast in Mumbai.