Expressing concern over the deteriorating health of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yasin Malik, the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre has appealed to the United Nations Special Rapporteur (SAHRDC) to urgently intervene and seek medical assistance for the pro-azaadi leader from the central and J&K governments.
Malik has been under detention since July 8, the day Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani was killed in Kashmir.
In a letter to Special Rapporteur Dainius Puras, the organisation has also demanded that Malik be released “unconditionally,” stating that his “only alleged crime has been his organising peaceful protests against atrocities by the Central Reserve Police Force and the Jammu and Kashmir police.”
The letter, which seeks the intervention of the UN representative, also mentions how JKLF – which began as a militant separatist organisation – was now a “nonviolent organisation committed to peaceful struggle to achieve its aims”. On behalf of the SAHRDC, Ravi Nair wrote, “It formally gave up armed struggle against the Indian state in 1995.”
Recalling the recent events leading to the arrest of Malik, he said, the JKLF leader “was first lodged in the police station at Kothibagh in Srinagar city for over three weeks. He was then shifted to central jail, Srinagar and then from there [he was] taken to Humhama mess on September 4, 2016, the day an all-party delegation from New Delhi visited Kashmir.”
Nair said that at the moment Malik was being “kept in solitary confinement in a small room, which was filthy, at the joint interrogation centre in Humhama. He is presently being held under sections 107 and 151 of the Ranbir Penal Code.”
Noting that the Humhama police mess was one of the joint interrogation centres that are “known for being illegal detention centres where torture and worse was and is routinely practiced,” Nair has called for an immediate release of Malik from there due to his poor health.
In the third week of September, he had said that Malik’s medical tests at the Khyber Hospital in Srinagar revealed that his physical well-being was at stake.
On September 27, Malik’s personal doctor Sajjad Reshi examined him and advised further medical examinations related to his heart, kidney and other ailments.
“Malik is known to have recurrent nephrolithiasis bilaterally for which in the past he has undergone multiple PCNL and lithotripsy. Currently he has a 7.7 mm stone obstructing the left upper ureter with resultant hydronephrosis, which must be evaluated after one week. Presently he is on medical expulsion therapy. He might require an operative intervention in the form of a urinary stenting/ESWL or URS if the medical therapy fails,” the letter quoted the medical report.
Nair said that Reshi had also recommended that “Malik should be at a medical facility under constant observation.” Pointing out that Malik’s kidney stone was enlarged and was putting his kidney functions at risk, the letter noted that after the medical examinations, he was sent back to the Humhama joint interrogation centre.
Explaining the reason for reaching out to the UN representative, Nair said that Tapan Bose from the South Asia Forum for Human Rights had taken up the matter with the Indian foreign secretary, the union home secretary and the chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir on October 6, but to no avail.
A day prior to that, Bose had also communicated his concerns to the governor of Jammu and Kashmir N.N. Vohra, who communicated to him that he had asked the state government to look into the matter.