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Shahid’s daughters seek PM’s intervention

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Say no charges proven against their father

Srinagar: Two minor daughters of Hurriyat Conference leader Shahidul Islam, who is lodged in Tihar jail in connection with a hawala funding case, have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his "personal intervention" in the case.

Suzanne and Sundas described their father as a "pro-dialogue leader" and argued that no charges have been proven against him.

"Our father, a prominent political leader, is known for his pro-dialogue stance aimed at peaceful settlement of Kashmir, for which he was attacked twice by unknown gunmen, we never expected that peace-loving and moderate voices like him will be treated so shabbily in the world's largest democracy," the girls wrote in the letter which was released to media here today.

The girls appealed to both India and Pakistan to stop ill-treating political detainees.

"We the helpless daughters of a jailed and ailing man humbly appeal the governments of India and Pakistan to stop ill-treating the political detainees and their families as even criminals and their families have right to be treated humanely," they said.

In the country where prime minister's 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' slogan has rekindled hope among the hopeless disadvantaged girl child, we are unable to attend to our studies, the sisters said.

"For us, our home is like a prison, while Daddy has been jailed for months, with none of the allegations levelled against him having been proved.

"We look forward to an immediate personal intervention by your good self," read the letter addressed to the prime minister.

The girls said their recent meeting with Shahidul Islam in Tihar jail reminded them of a similar meeting between former Navy commander Kulbhushan Jadhav with his family in a Pakistani jail.

"Leave alone touching him, the glass wall was too thick to let our words reach him. One intercom in the poorly-ventilated room was the only means to converse...Our visit to Tihar Jail, reminded us of the union of Kulbhushan Jadhav with his aged mother and wife in a prison in Pakistan," they said in the letter.

The girls also said that their father's life was at risk as he has been lodged with "criminals and drug addicts".

"Confined to the walls of 8x6 feet cell of High Risk Ward of Thiar Jail, he has been kept with criminals and drug addicts, which exposes him to an obvious threat to his life.  But then, even meeting Daddy couldn't end without horror. When we're still to finish our conversation with him, the phone line snapped and the lights went off.

"We pray that no daughters have to visit Tihar again," the letter added.

Shahidul Islam, spokesman of Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, was arrested along with six others by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) last year in connection with its probe into funding of terror and subversive activities in Kashmir Valley.

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