Soz scales wall to prove he is under house arrest

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 7/31/2020 8:43:09 PM

SRINAGAR, July 30: With central government denying that he is under detention, former union minister Prof Saifuddin Soz today scaled a high wall adjacent to the gate of his residence at Friends Colony here to prove that he was under house arrest and not being allowed to move out by police.
Government had on Tuesday claimed in Supreme Court that Soz was not under detention and he is a free man. The statement was given by the government in response to a petition filed by Soz's wife challenging his house arrest and demanding his release.
Today Soz scaled a high wall to talk to media persons as the cops inside kept pulling him back. Large number of media persons had reached Soz's residence today after the statement by government in Supreme Court on Tuesday. The former minister had denied the statement of government yesterday also.
The media persons wanted to enter Soz's residence. But policemen deployed there did not open the gates. The media persons were shooed away with a warning if they did not leave the place.
The former minister seemed eager to talk to the media. As the media persons were not allowed inside and he disallowed outside, Soz scaled the boundary wall of his house. His interaction was brief only as cops cut it short with a warning of action.
Soz was heard saying from behind the gate that the government lied to the Supreme Court (SC). "If I am a free man, then allow me to leave the premises. I am not a free man. These policemen are saying they have orders from the top,” he said.
The former minister told media persons on phone that he was never allowed to venture out without the permission of the police.
“I did meet my ailing sister twice and visited Delhi for medical check-ups twice since August 5, 2019, but only after seeking formal permission from the police, that too in October and December. On many occasions, I was denied permission. I remain under house arrest without any formal orders,” Soz said.
Soz said he would put all these facts before the top court. “I am surprised how the SC accepted what was told to it. I am surprised that even in a habeas corpus, the SC gives more than a month’s time to the government. It did not consider my age and urgency of the matter. I am 80 years old. It left me frustrated,” he added.
He said the measures of the government had “affected my democratic life”. “Only when this regime goes, the people will get to assess the damage done to institutions,” he added.
The former Union Minister said he had faith in the “twin Constitutions of India and J&K”.
“Within the limits of these two Constitutions, the civil liberties suspended since August 5 last year should be restored,” Soz said.
He said Kashmir was the only place in India where ideas were not allowed to be expressed. “There is suffocation. I have remorse when the boys get killed. They are not terrorists but minds with unease,” he said.
He said it pained him to see judges of the Supreme Court praise the Prime Minister. “A judge has to be impartial in the chair. A PM should not matter to him. He should go by the book. During this regime, the institutions have become very weak,” he added.
The J&K administration on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that Soz “is free and not under detention”.
The top court, hearing a petition by Soz’s wife asking for his release from “illegal detention”, accepted the administration’s statement and closed the case.



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