“I was blindfolded and my hands and feet were tied. They beat me with iron rods after pouring water on my body so that it hurts me more. Many men would keep beating me for minutes together. They hit me on my neck and on my back. One officer jammed a rod in my knee so hard that it’s left a permanent injury in my leg,” Feroz Ahmed wrote to his brother, lying almost dead on the hospital bed.
Feroz Ahmed Hajam on 6th September was rushed to the District Hospital of Islamabad (Anantnag) with a slit throat. He was brought to the hospital by Policemen and dropped straight outside the operation theater. The Doctors rushed him to the operation theater from where he was referred to Srinagar for treatment.
The Police straightway issued a statement alleging that Feroz, a Jaish suspect was being questioned when he went inside the washroom to answer nature’s call, inside the washroom he slit his own throat, tried to commit suicide.
It was 11 in the morning of 5th September, Dozens of policemen came and surrounded Feroz near Khanabal’s Joint Interrogation Centre. The Forces blindfolded his face and dragged him to inside of the Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC), Feroz wrote to me, Claims his brother, Tariq Ahmed Hajam.
“I was scared of dying. I was scared.”
They asked Feroz about his involvement with Militancy in Kashmir and if he is supporting any militias or if he attacked any police station. Feroz kept denying saying that he is taking care of his family. They tied his hands and hung him from the ceiling for many hours and kept him naked, his brother told The Kashmiriyat.
“Hooks, chains and plastic straps litter the ceiling of one room, once used to hold people down. In another room, stripped metal beds remained where men were strapped down and electrocuted.”
“In these dark corridors, mingled with the smell of dust and concrete, there is still the smell of human death,” Feroz wrote to his brother as he cannot speak with twenty five stitches on his throat, visible torture marks on his body, legs burnt with cigarette butts and deep bruises on his body due to a roller rolled all over his body.
Feroz Ahmed after being severely assaulted by Government Forces inside the torture centre was forcibly strapped and an Army uniform was put on his body. In a Police Vehicle he was taken to Larnoo camp, then to Nadroo Army camp about 30 Kilometers away from JIC, 19 Rashtriya Rifles of Indian Army is stationed here.
“It made me think, ‘Even time will not erase all the wounds here in Kashmir’.”
Feroz was again questioned inside the Army camp in Nudroo and when he denied having any links with Militancy, torture resumed. “It was hell. I would rather kill myself than go back to living being in that torture centre. During the torture, I kept thinking of my future, my mother and my sisters. I lost hope.When I cried for the first time during the torture, they hit me so much and one of them said: ‘I will kill you now.”
“When Feroz writes, his eyes turn grim and hands shake, full of pain and anger as he describes his “death-like experience” of being detained and tortured at the hands of the Indian Forces,” his brother told The Kashmiriyat.
He wrote that, “While torturing me, one Army man shouted, ‘Do not make noise, i will cut your vocal chords, i have done that before’.” “They beat me for two hours shouting ‘You shouldn’t die, you should be tortured more.”
He claimed that an ambulance was secretly brought inside the Nudroo Army camp from where Feroz was first shifted to Verinag from where an Ambulance carried him to Mir Bazar area of South Kashmir’s Qazigund from where another Ambulance came and took him to District Hospital of Islamabad (Anantnag).
“I got a call from officials of the Crime Investigation Department, who told me Feroz was admitted in the hospital, nobody since then has come to speak to us, neither have we heard the Police’s version of the story,” Tariq, brother of Feroz Ahmed Hajam told The Kashmiriyat.
Feroz Ahmed Hajam as per Police was arrested in a case registered in Police Station Kokernag and was also a ‘suspected’ of having an affiliation with dreaded Militant outfit, Jaish e Muhammad responsible for Suicide attack of New Year day in South Kashmir in which eight Government Force personnel were killed.
A police statement claimed, that Feroz, who is a barber was a suspected operative of militant group Jaish-e-Muhamad and during questioning he went to take a nature’s call and tried committing suicide.
Feroz though owns a shop in Achabal Adda of Islamabad township and was a student of religious studies at Idara Tehqiqat e Islami of South Kashmir which was founded by the slain Mirwaiz of South Kashmir, Dr. Qazi Nisar Ahmed.
He has been undergoing treatment at SMHS Hospital in Srinagar where the Doctors have been seeing the patient with utmost care. “The Cut is deep and his throat is slit from one side to the other,” the doctors have told the family members seeing Feroz.
Feroz Ahmed Hajam, a resident of Iqbal Pora Kherti Larnoo is survived by two unmarried sisters and a brother who works at a shop as a salesman.
The Police in its statement had also claimed Feroz was being questioned under FIR number 125/2018 registered at Police Station Kokernag. The Kashmiriyat contacted the Police station Kokernag who said no FIR was registered against Feroz in the Police station and claimed that the FIR was registered in P.S Dooru who said that an FIR was registered against Feroz in the Police Station, but not under the serial number mentioned by the Police in its statement about the incident.
“He is innocent, he is working to feed his family, Is that his Sin? What does India want to do here, Kill us all, reduce us by numbers, extinct the human race? so that they can have our land,” a friend of Feroz asked while speaking to The Kashmiriyat.
He claimed that Feroz had “No” affiliation whatsoever with Militancy and said that the people of his area observed a complete shutdown to demand probe into the incident, but the Police asked the media to blackout the news.
“No Media organization has come to us, we are thankful someone is finally calling us to know what had actually happened,” his brother told The Kashmiriyat.
The State Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance of the incident and issued notices to deputy commissioner and senior superintendent of police for Islamabad (Anantnag), on a petition, asking them to file a report “sooner the better”.
The brother of Feroz claimed that the family went to a Police station to register case against the Army camp who had slit the throat of Feroz Ahmed Hajam but the Police refused to file a case against the Army. We also wrote an Application a top Police official in the District, but they paid no heed to our repeated requests.
“We cannot register a case regarding the incident as the same did not happen in the areas coming under the jurisdiction of Police station Larnoo,” a Police official posted at Larnoo told The Kashmiriyat.
An Army Official upon being contacted said that the Police has already investigated the matter and we do not need to further comment on the issue.
US diplomats repeatedly refer to human rights abuses by security and law enforcement agencies within India. In a cable from February 2006, officials reported that “terrorism investigations and court cases tend to rely upon confessions, many of which are obtained under duress if not beatings, threats, or, in some cases, torture”.
A year later a brief for the visiting acting coordinator for counter-terrorism, Frank Urbancic, described India’s police and security forces as “overworked and hampered by bad … practices, including the widespread use of torture in interrogations.”
Author: Qazi Shibli
Qazi Shibli is a News Editor with ‘The Kashmiriyat.’ He is a Journalism graduate from Bangalore University.