CPI (M) chief Sitaram Yechury's affidavit in the Supreme Court has challenged some of the government's claims that normalcy is returning in Kashmir. After the Supreme Court allowed him to visit the state, Yechury was in Kashmir on August 29 and 30 to meet his friend and party colleague Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, who has been ailing.
On his return, Yechury filed an affidavit on September 2. He said in the affidavit that his experience of the entire visit and interaction with Tarigami has led him to believe that the 'unlawful detention' of his party colleague and 'other restrictions' have 'aggravated his severe and chronic health condition' and had affected his and his family's mental health.
Yechury said that the situation on the ground in Kashmir, to the extent that he saw, was completely contrary to what the government is indicating. He also noted that the family was running low on cash as they are not being allowed to leave their house for nearly a month now, and none can visit them.
In his plea, Yechury stated that there was no order to detain Tarigami, and the Kashmir leader and his family members were under 'de-facto house arrest' illegally.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer heard Yechury on Thursday, and ordered that Tarigami be shifted from Srinagar, where he is under detention at his home, to New Delhi's AIIMS without any delay.
The bench issued notice to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Yechury's plea that there was no common order for Tarigami's detention. The bench sought a reply within one week and posted the matter for further hearing on September 16.
"We want to reserve our right to challenge the detention of the former MLA in habeas corpus (bring the person) plea," Yechury said in the court. The SC had allowed Yechury to visit Kashmir to meet his ailing party colleague and file an affidavit on his health condition.
In his affidavit submitted to the SC, Yechury said that right from the point when he landed in Srinagar on August 29 and left on the afternoon of August 30, the local administration did not allow him to move on his own to meet Tarigami.
Yechury said Senior Superintendent of Police Mir Imtiyaz Hussain refused to leave his side even when he was with Tarigami in his house in Srinagar. Imtiyaz sat 'uninvited' in the drawing room “although there was no need for him to be present there”, Yechury has stated in the affidavit. The officer eventually left the room when Yechury specifically asked him to.
When Yechury asked Tarigami about the charges under which he has been detained, the officer indicated to him that there were no legal charges against Tarigami and that the leader was 'free'.
Tarigami said no order of detention had been shown to him, his security has been instructed by the authorities not to allow him or his family members to move out of the house for the last 25-days.
According to the affidavit, he told Yechury that neither he nor any of his family members were allowed leave the house, or anyone allowed to enter the house to meet them. He and his family were in “de facto” house arrest, he told Yechury. Security officers buy provisions for the family.
Yechury noted in his affidavit that Tarigami’s house arrest has led to worsening of his health condition as he has been unable to visit the hospital, or contact his family doctor. At Yechury’s insistence, a doctor visited Tarigami’s house on August 30.
Tarigami told Yechury that he had no means of communicating with his family or friends in rest of the Srinagar, Kashmir or India, as neither mobile networks nor landline networks are working. He said the two landlines in his house were non-functional which made it difficult to “even seek emergency medical help”. He has also been unable to contact his regular doctors who knows his medical history.
Yechury was not allowed to stay overnight with Tarigami at his house, taken to a government guest house, and brought back to his friend’s house next morning.