Jailed Childhood

Farzana Mumtaz

 

Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

 

Children are the future of the nation. They are, in fact, the foundation on which a strong, vibrant and dynamic  country or society  is  built. But, unfortunately the children of Kashmir on account of lingering violent conflict since decades have suffered hell.

Pertinently, the children of Kashmir are not only blinded by pellets but are lodged in jails. Children are worst victims of Kashmir Conflict.

In 2016, Kashmir has seen worst unrest and children of Kashmir are once again at receiving end.Tajamul Rasool Mir, 14, son of Ghulam Rasool Mir of New Colony Bunpora Saderkoot is the recent child to hog limelight; he was arrested by Hajin police on charges of organizing pro-freedom and anti-India rallies in Hajin town.

The date of birth of Tajamul’s Adhaar card is 10-02-2002 which means he is only 14 years of age.

He has been shifted to Kotbalwal Jail in Jammu. “Tajamul was arrested in Hajin on 11 September and was lodged in Police Station Hajin for 13 days, after that he was booked under PSA and was sent to Kotbhalwal Jail in Jammu. He is only 14 years old. “How can he be a threat? How can a minor be booked under such a stringent law,” said his elder brother Jan Muhammad Mir, while speaking to media outlets

Few years back , a report by a Delhi-based Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) observed that more than 700 minors in Kashmir have been booked under the Public Safety Act in a clear contradiction with the amendment on 28th March 2013 bringing into effect the Jammu & Kashmir (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2013 which bars the detention of persons under the age of 18 years under PSA.

Pertinently, PSA was first introduced in J&K in 1978 to prevent timber smuggling but has been subsequently used against political opponents by consecutive governments .

Children in prison is a matter of great concern all over the world. To quote a little boy cited in the UN Study, “Sometimes one day in prison felt like a year. But after 10 days you get used to it and you don’t cry as much”.

On the otherhand ,  the European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly found breaches of the Convention in cases concerning the detention of children.

Mir Imran, an eminent Human Rights Defender states – “ The children of Kashmir blinded by pellets and imprisoned is a worst human rights violation. It is my strong belief that children in any place of the world  have no place in prison. Children do not have the needed maturity to face the harshness of detention and to grasp the sense of it. Their adolescence and fragility prevent them from understanding why they are in prison .For the future of our children, kashmir conflict should be resolved and children treated nicely and provided great life .”

Nonetheless, the jailed childhood is a burning human rights issue in Kashmir.

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