Residents of Indian-Occupied Kashmir who ‘mistakenly crossed’ LOC refuse deportation, fearing for their lives

With reporting by Abdul Rahman Bukhari

GILGIT: Two residents of Bandipura District of Gurez Valley in Indian Occupied Kashmir, identified as Noor Muhammad Waani and Feroz Ahmad, have said that fearing for their lives they do not want to return to their homeland. They have said that Indian authorities might torture or kill them if they are sent back.

The two Kashmiri youth were arrested in June of 2020 by GB Police after they illegally crossed the Line of Control (LOC) and entered Astore district of Gilgit-Baltistan, which shares a border with Gurez Valley.

Report from June 2020

During a press conference held in 2020, the two youth were presented in front of the media and accused of espionage. Police had reportedly recovered Indian currency, mobile phones and some student ID cards after they were detained.

Waani and Ahmad reportedly maintained throughout the interrogation that they had stranded into Gilgit-Baltistan’s territory, and they were not spies.

A Session Judge of Gilgit, in a decision announced on 20th April 2022, had ordered the GB government to deport the two residents of Bandipur to IOK, after charges of espionage could not be proven against them.

The two Kashmiri youth have submitted an application requesting the Session Court in Gilgit to withdraw its verdict regarding their deportation, saying that their lives are in danger if they are forcefully sent back to Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s former Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider has demanded to withdraw the deportation decision and instead let the two youth to live in the jurisdiction of Azad Kashmir.

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