Tuesday, March 5, 2024

‘Free My Baba’, says 2 year-old-daughter of jailed Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan on Eid day

Aasif Sultan’s daughter, Areeba was just 6 months old when her father was illegally arrested in the middle of the night in August 2018.

She is now two and half years old, and asks about him everyday.

On Eid-ul-Adha day, Areeba has painted a message requesting to release her father.

“Free My Baba” the paint reads.

Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan is imprisoned in Central Jail Srinagar since August 2018. He has been booked Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for his alleged involvement in militant activities, a charge denied by his family.

The arrest was after he wrote a story in a local magazine Kashmir Narrator about how Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani inspired hundreds of youths into militancy, after speaking with his associates.

Sultan worked as an assistant editor with Kashmir Narrator.

“Aasif Sultan has been under illegal confinement since the last 702 days. Till date, charges against him have not been made public, neither have the court hearings happened at the scheduled time. We demand his immediate release,” writes a Twitter account “Free Asif Sultan” which runs campaign for seeking arrested journalist’s release.

“How many Eids has Aasif Sultan spent away from his wife, young daughter, and ailing parents? How many Eids has he marked with an absolute violation of his human rights and political rights? How many Eids before he is finally released?” they asked.

Asif’s wife and daughter. Photo: Tauseef Mustafa

Ahmed Bin Qasim, a student and activist from Srinagar wrote in a tweet: “This is Aasif Sultan’s wife and his daughter. Eid is around the corner and this little kid will have to go to prison to see her father. He might not even get to hold her for a few moments. What Eid? What joy? When our homes don’t look like homes.”

Sultan’s family is acutely disturbed with the reports coming in from Kashmir’s prisons where a significant number of prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19.

Sultan has been repeatedly denied bail and hearings in Sultan’s case have been repeatedly delayed.

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