Eleven years ago two young Kashmiri youths – Mohammed Hussain Fazili and Rafiq Ahmad Shah were arrested by a police party that had come from Delhi. Fazili a pashmina Weaver and Shah a student of Physics at Kashmir University were taken to unknown destination. The families of both these persons came to know after weeks from the media that these men were accused by the police of triggering blasts in New Delhi on Diwali in which dozens were killed. The shattered families and neighbors of these young men couldn’t believe it as they knew these young men could have never been part of this heinous crime. With the arrest the ordeal of the families began. They had to travel New Delhi to meet them and due to poverty and absence of resources the family members of these youth couldn’t hire top lawyers to defend their children. But still they tried everything to get their children out from jail where Shah and Fazili were tortured to accept the crime which they had never committed. After 11 years a court in Delhi acquitted both these men due to lack of evidence, even at the time of blast Shah was in university attending classes likewise Fazili had no link with the blasts. Unfortunately it took 11 long years to the families to prove the innocence of these young men who are now in their 40’s and the golden period of their life is already over. Time has come when government should review the cases of those Kashmiri youth who are serving detention under fabricated charges. Fazili and Shah are the best examples how power is being misused by the officials. Time has come when state government should also take responsibility and fight for the rights of innocence people serving long detention. The government should now try to compensate these youths otherwise incidents like these became trigger for alienation and deprivation of rights. It is not first time when Kashmiri youth were acquitted in the past also people were detained on false charges by different security agencies. This should be stopped and time has come when action should be initiated against all those officials who for promotions and medals ruining lives of young people.
The editorial has first appeared in print edition of Feb 22-28, 2017.