Srinagar, May 03 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, journalist Qazi Shibli, who was in an Indian jail for nine months under draconian Public Safety Act (PSA), has said that his cell in the jail was like a cage and ghosts haunted him.

According to Kashmir Media Service, Qazi Shibli in a media interview in Srinagar after release from his illegal detention said that he was summoned to the police station on July 27, 2019 in connection with a story regarding the heightened troop deployment and movement and a thread of tweets on the same.

He said that he was questioned for three consecutive days for his other tweets and the financial aspect of his news-website, The Kashmiriyat. He said that after two days, he was shifted to Central Jail, Srinagar. The journalist said that on 8th August, he was told that he was detained under the PSA.

About the 5th August action by the Indian government in occupied Kashmir, he said he was detained at a local police station in Sher Bagh, Islamabad. He said nobody slept on the night of 4 August. “I saw policemen locking up more people that they presumably arrested that night. The next morning was more chaotic, he added.

To a query, Qazi Shibli said, “On the morning of 9th August, we were flown outside in a military aircraft. I didn’t know where we were being taken. In the plane, the only thing I could see were unknown faces.”

He said that he was locked up in Bareilly District Jail in Uttar Pradesh, India, and tried tooth and nail to speak to his family —mother, but was disallowed. He said, when he would hear other prisoners’ accounts, their pains and sufferings, he would forget his own miseries.

To a question, he said that he started a hunger strike demanding a pen and a paper, the jail authorities didn’t give him that but allowed books. He added that he went on to read a vast deal of literature. When asked when he for the first time got to speak to any familiar voice after your detention, he said he was told after fifty-seven days in imprisonment that someone had come to meet him, he felt like a blind could finally see all the colours. “I had to cross four gates before reaching them. And they were crying. I couldn’t have displayed the weakness; I told them, “Koi tension nahi, Sab theek hai. (Don’t worry. Everything is fine) I lied that we play cricket and stuff.”

To a question about any nightmares, he said, “Yes, one was recurrent: some ghosts haunted me, it was like they were constantly snatching books and pens from me.”

To another question he said, yes, he made many friends, who were mostly lower-caste Hindu policemen. “One thing that connected us was their wrong notion of Kashmiris as terror-sympathizers,” he said, adding that he was successful in abolishing that notion.

He said, “I didn’t change clothes for the first fifty-seven days. I had no clothes — I had left my home in a t-shirt and pajama. I washed and re-washed the same t-shirt. By the time I got new ones, my t-shirt had 119 holes.

He added when he was released, he walked out of the jail in the same t-shirt. He wanted to tell everyone in the world what the authorities did to him. “It was a story of subjugation. And it is not just me — there are many more still locked up,” he maintained. He said he brought that t-shirt with him.

To another query the recently released journalist said, these FIRs and arrests, including his imprisonment, were just like small threads. He said, “Ultimately it will become a web, and we’ll get stuck into it like insects. Before the web gets strong — we need to speak against it.”


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