15 months on, Pulwama’s religious preacher still languishing in jail

Little daughter of Pulwama's religious preacher Ashiq Salfi
Little daughter of Pulwama's religious preacher Ashiq Salfi

PULWAMA — It has been over 15 months since a south Kashmir preacher was picked up from his residence shortly before the abrogation of J&K’s special status and shifted to outside Agra jail. His wife and little daughter have been moving from pillar to post to get him released.

Ashiq Ahmed Rather alias Ashiq Salfi was leading prayers at a local mosque in Wuyen Pampore. A day before the abrogation of Article 370, he was asked to report at police station.

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Salfi, who is the resident of Kunjipora Pulwama reported at police station but never returned back.

“He was detained and after a couple of days, booked under Public Safety Act, shifted to Indian state of Uttar Pradesh’s Agra jail,” his wife Ghazala said.

“Since August 4, 2019, I have met him once after the intervention of the court. Due to situation post abrogation and outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, his case didn’t list for hearing in the court of law. I have one little daughter. He was the sole bread earner and I don’t have so much means to get him out from the jail,” Ghazala said.

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“His only fault is that he was giving religious sermons in the mosque. I request authorities and those at the helm of affairs to release my husband on humanitarian grounds. I don’t know how he is and we can’t afford a meeting with him at Agra jail,” she said.

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