Kashmiri who got award from Vajpayee held since Aug 5

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Srinagar: Early on August 5 last year, before the announcement of the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, Kashmir police personnel climbed the wall of Shakeel Qalander’s residence in Srinagar’s Kanitar area. They barged into his house. They were there to take him away. On that night, the 58-year-old industrialist and noted civil society member was taken to Srinagar’s Central Jail where he continues to be in detention to this day. According to his family, they were told by the local police that he’ll be taken to SKICC, which has been functioning as a detention centre for political prisoners since August 5, and kept there under “preventive detention” for a few days. However, Qalander was instead shifted to Srinagar’s Central Jail. “I have been given to understand that you and your associates are about to organise processions and such meetings which are likely to deteriorate the law and order situation,” read a magistrate’s order against Qalander who was detained under Section 107/151, which cite preventive measures, according to a report in The Hindu. “Nobody had even imagined that they will detain respected citizens and civil society members like my father for such a long period and that too under sections that were even not even remotely connected to their activities,” said Qalander’s son, Ahtisham, an IIT Roorkee graduate, who has had to move back from Delhi to be with his family in Srinagar.–Agencies