Kashmir University student booked under UAPA, family, friends say detained for activism at varsity

Aqib Malik

By Auqib Javeed, TwoCircles.net

Srinagar, July 27: The family of a Kashmiri student, who was booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) claim that he was “punished” for his “activism” at University of Kashmir.

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Aqib Ahmad Malik (26), a second-semester student of Biochemistry at the premier educational institute of the valley, was summoned by police at Nigeen police station in Srinagar on July 24 for questioning in a case registered in 2018.

Malik, who hails from south Kashmir’s Shopian district, was detained in Police station Nigeen and subsequently booked under UAPA, a law used to book militants.

Talking to TwoCircles.net, Malik’s maternal uncle, Zahoor Ahamad said, he was summoned to the police station in Srinagar on Thursday evening, and he (Aqib) went there on Friday and was arrested.

A member of banned student’s organisation Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU) condemned Aqib’s detention and demanded his immediate release.

“It shows the clear frustration of the state. It wants to muzzle dissent and also wants to create fear psychosis among the student community. Aqib is being punished for his political beliefs,” a member and a student of university said.

He maintained that Maliq was active in university and would frequently raise his voice against corruption in the University.

“He had some issues with the administration and was also detained by police on their call,” he added.

Malik’s uncle Zahoor Ahmad corroborated this and told TwoCircles.net that he was punished because of the KU authorities.

“He had some arguments early this year with one of the Proctors at KU regarding the hostel facilities,” Ahmad said and added that Maliq was detained when the said Proctor called the police. “We bailed him out after two days from Central Jail Srinagar,” he added.

“A case vide number 68/2018 under section 13 of Unlawful Activities Act (UAPA) stands registered at Nigeen police station. The role of the student has been established and subsequently he has been detained,” an unnamed official was quoted as saying by a local news gathering agency Kashmir News Trust (KNT).

Few hours before getting arrested on Friday, Malik told this reporter how Kashmir University is destroying his career.

“I was detained multiple times because I raised my voice against corruption at the University. I was also restricted to enter the campus usually,” Malik told this reporter on the phone.

Superintendent of Police, Hazratbal, Sudhanshu Verma while speaking to TwoCircless.net said there was an FIR registered against Maliq and said that, “just because he is a KU student doesn’t make him innocent.”

When asked why he was detained under terrorism law and in an old case he said, “We were collecting the evidence sine 2018 and he must have done some activities that he was booked under the relevant law,” he added.

Tussle against University

Malik, apparently wrote a letter, a copy of which lies with this reporter, in which Malik narrates and accuses Kashmir University of destroying his career.

Malik says that in February 2020, he was arrested under preventive detention act 107/151 and kept in Central Jail Srinagar for a period of 8 days and restrictions were imposed on him to enter University campus for at least 20 days.

“I was instructed that your room shouldn’t be near any University hostel,” the letter reads.

In 2017, Malik claims that he was threatened by one of the University officials that he will be picked by security agencies.

“I was never expecting that at our university there will even be such people. So I went into hiding for some days and protests erupted after that in KU and other institutions,” he said.

It may be noted, in 2017, Malik went missing under mysterious circumstances, triggering protests. However, he was traced by the J&K police after a few days.

He alleges that in August 2015 he was denied admission in the department of law under the Open Merit category and was put on the payment list.

“At the end of 2017 I was elected as proctor of SA boys hostel Zakura by students and I did my best to help students. But that didn’t go down well with the University officials and they started harassing me more, and they didn’t allow me to sit in the examination of the 2nd semester citing the reason as shortage in attendance,” he writes in the letter.

Malik further alleges that in April 2019 during NAAC visit restrictions were again imposed on him from entering University premises.

In June 2019 Malik accused Politician Er. Rashid of threatening him for making comments against the former legislator in a video.

“I questioned Er Rashid in KU about his politics. Later on, he threatened me with my life and I was again summoned by Nigeen police station,” he said.

His brother, Yawar Mushtaq told TwoCircles.net that Malik stood up against corruption and backdoor entries in University, which didn’t go well with University authorities.

However, the university authorities denied Malik’s allegations against them.

Speaking to TwoCircles.net, the proctor Dr, Showkat, said that nothing of this sort has happened. “There is a policy of hostels. We cannot keep a student in the hostel forever. He had availed the hostel facility while he was studying law at the university.”

Kanahiya Kumar of Kashmir

The INUTH in 2017, after his missing from the university, quoted a top police official that Malik aspired to be like Kanhaiya Kumar

“We got to know from his colleagues that he aspired to be like Kanhaiya Kumar—the ex-president of the JNUSU,” the official added.

His colleague at Kashmir University told TwoCircles.net that he would watch speeches of Kanahiya Kumar for hours.

“He was his biggest fan and would usually imitate him in the hostel,” he added.