Srinagar: Former civil servant-turned-politician Shah Faesal's family says that they have no information on the whereabouts of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM) founder ever since he was detained at the Delhi airport on 14 August.
The family members also say that they came to know about his arrest only through news reports.
“I learned of his detention only on Television,” said Faesal's mother Mubeena Banoo. She informs that the JKPM founder had left for Delhi to go to the US in connection with his academic pursuits and had also planned to visit Turkey.
Faesal was reportedly detained at the Delhi airport on Wednesday while trying to go abroad. The former civil servant was reportedly then sent back to Kashmir and put under house arrest at his official residence at Jawahar Nagar. However, his family members claim that Faesal never arrived home.
According to officials, Faesal was detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) on his arrival in Srinagar. Orders under the PSA are issued by the Deputy Commissioner, based on a police dossier.
Reports claimed that Faesal was detained for fanning “separatist” activities and the PSA order was issued based on a television interview in which he opposed the decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
The authorities, however, it seems have not shared details of his arrest even with his family members. The location of the place where he has been kept also remains unknown.
Several mainstream leaders, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been detained by the authorities. While Omar and Mehbooba are said to have been detained at a government guest house at Hari Niwas, location of other mainstream leaders remains unknown.
Government spokesperson, Rohit Kansal, had earlier refused to share details of their whereabouts, saying that he wouldn’t like to talk about "individual cases".
Officials, however, said that makeshift prisons have been set up at government guest houses where the mainstream leaders have been detained.
Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary BVR Subrahmanyam justified the government's decision to detain mainstream leaders from the Valley at a press conference on Friday, saying that “a few preventive detentions of individuals were made in accordance with the provisions of law to maintain law and order and avoid the breach of peace".
He said that the political detainees would be released in a phased manner. He also said that measures, including the restrictions on the movement of people as well as the suspension of internet and mobile services, were taken “by way of precaution” and keeping in mind the “safety and well being of the public at large".
The authorities have also refused to reveal the number of the people who have been detained so far, however, admitted that detentions were also made under the PSA.
Mubeena said that she was worried about the well-being of her son.
"I had advised Faesal that he shouldn’t join politics and continue in his job. But he didn’t listen to me and told me that he wants to work for the people," she said adding that it is difficult for "people to pursue" politics representing the "aspirations" of the people in the Valley.
An MBBS graduate, Faesal had given up a career in medicine to pursue IAS. He topped the IAS exam in 2009 but resigned from the service in 2019 to 'protest killings' in Kashmir. Soon after his resignation, when asked whether he would pursue separatist politics, he had replied that the life of a separatist was difficult and one has to also face jail.
“He was very good at studies and was in a good government job, so I had told him not to leave the job,” she said.
Faesal's father was killed by unidentified gunmen in 2002. Faesal's mother shares that he was unable to qualify for the MBBS exam in his first attempt as the exam was held four days after his father's death. He had qualified for the BDS in the first attempt.
Mubeena is a serving government teacher while Faesal’s wife is also a senior government functionary.
The government has, however, maintained security at Faesal’s residence. A security official at his residence said that it was manned by five police personnel, including four constables and one head constable. The family hails from northern Kashmir area of Lolab in Kupwara.
After starting JKPM, Faesal was supported by Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) leader Engineer Rashid. Javed Mustafa Mir, a former minister and senior PDP leader, also joined him recently.
Updated Date: Aug 16, 2019 22:49:52 IST