When the area SHO knocked on the door of Raja Muzaffar Bhat at 3 am on August 5 and told him that he had orders to detain him for “a couple of days” at the local Chadoora police station in Budgam, the RTI activist told his wife and parents to tell his two children that he had gone on a trek and would be back soon.
It would be nearly three months before he returned from the “trek”. Bhat was released on October 28 from detention at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar.
Speaking to The Indian Express earlier this week, Bhat provided the first detailed account of the convention centre-turned sub-jail, where politicians, arrested following the government’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370, were lodged.
The SHO who detained him was carrying a satellite phone, said Bhat. He showed no written orders. “He kept saying uper se orders hain”.
Bhat was shifted to SKICC after four days at the Chadoora police station. “It was packed with lots of young boys who had also been picked up on August 4, and the number of CRPF personnel in that police station was amazing. They kept me and the Budgam district Congress president Mohamed Maqbool in a separate room,” Bhat recalled.
As he and Maqbool were being shifted to SKICC, Bhat said, the police…