All 13 detained women -- comprising retired academicians, Bollywood actor Aamir Bashir's mother and relatives of National Conference (NC) patron Dr. Farooq Abdullah -- were released after 30 hours of detention from Srinagar's Central Jail on Wednesday afternoon.
The women were arrested on Tuesday for organising a sit-in against the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and continuous detention of political leaders in the Valley. The women, who were arrested under Section 107 of CrPC, were asked to sign bonds, seeking assurance not to repeat any act resulting in “breach of peace”, and give surety money of ₹10,000 each.
“We did what we wanted to. We made our point,” said Hawa Bashir, the wife of former Chief Justice Bashir Khan after her release from the jail.
Ms. Bashir’s son Aamir Bashir, a Bollywood actor famous for his role in the popular Netflix series Sacred Games , said, “Instead of prison, they (the released women) will have to live with a gag order. They were asked to sign a bond. Please keep in mind that thousands of voiceless Kashmiris are still in prisons in and outside J&K with no recourse to justice,” said the actor.
Mr. Bahir, who arrived in Srinagar on Wednesday, said his mother and aunt were part of Tuesday’s protest and both “needed medicines for arthritis, asthma and cardiac ailments”. “They are still better off than those mothers who have not seen their young ones since the lockdown began. This is the new normal,” he said.
“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of children, some as young as nine, who were picked up in midnight raids and taken to unknown locations. They are thrashed, tortured and their families run from pillar to post to find their whereabouts,” he added.
Dr. Abdullah’s sister Suraiya Mattoo and daughter Safiya Khan were also released. Ms. Khan flashed the word ‘released’ marked on her wrist at the jail. Prominent faces like Ruqaiya Syed, 81, Muslim Jan and Shamshaba Suhaf, all academicians, were also set free.
Another detained woman, Sushobha Bharve, director of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation (CDR) and also a member of Yashwant Sinha-led civil society group, said, “The government needs to be posed with the question, Why were we arrested?” she said.