‘We hugged and cried’: Families struggle to meet jailed Kashmiris
Officials say about 250 of 4,000 arrested since August 5 were moved to various Indian jails outside the disputed region.
Hameeda Begum described her arduous journey from the Himalayan region of Indian-administered Kashmir to the hot and humid room in Agra Central Jail in northern Uttar Pradesh state, where the exhausted 70-year-old was waiting to see her son.
A man in his early twenties offered her a bottle of water, saying, “Don’t lose hope. You are not alone.”
Hameeda drew a long sigh, placed her hand on the man’s hand and spoke in a barely audible voice: “May God give us patience.”READ MORE
Other Kashmiri families watched as they sat on a steel bench, waiting to see their own jailed relatives.
After waiting for hours, Hameeda’s name was announced and she was called inside a room.
Some 20 minutes later, she emerged a different person. Restive and tense earlier, she said she was now happy and relieved.
“Seeing my son was like celebrating the Eid festival,” she said. “After all, I am a mother.”
Hameeda and the man, Gowhar Malla, travelled together for 965 kilometres (600 miles) from Kashmir over two days to reach Agra.
Unknown to each other before their journey started, the two pursued a common goal: to see family members arrested by the Indian authorities and held in the city’s largest prison.