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House of incarcerated Kashmiri religious preacher raided

The State Investigation Agency carried out a raid at the residence of religious preacher and cleric Sarjan Barkati in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on February 7th. 

Barkati is a religious preacher who has been incarcerated for his involvement in Kashmiri right to self-determination movement.

In September, 2022, India arrested Barkati and he has been under arbitrary detention ever since. This is not the first time Barkati was arrested. Following the killing of popular pro-freedom armed commander, Burhan Wani, in 2016, Barkati was kept under arbitrary detention for more than four years, only to be released in October 2020.

His pro-freedom peaceful rallies largely had huge participation; ‘Azadi Chacha’ (Uncle Freedom) was his nickname— earning him the title of ‘the Pied Piper of South Kashmir’ for his unique sloganeering and unconventional style of speeches. 

Barkati alone has not been a victim of state repression but his wife has also been targeted by India. In November, last year, the State Investigation Agency arrested Shabroza Bano, wife of Barkati, under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Barkati and his wife, Shabroza Bano, have small children who now have lost both their parents to incarceration.

The raid is designed to further torment the incarcerated couple, whose children live at their home alone now.

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