J&K Police have arrested the mother of a slain militant and booked her under UAPA, two years after her picture holding an AK-47 rifle along with her son was widely circulated on social media.
Police said Naseema Bano, a 58-year-old resident of Rampora village in south Kashmir’s Kulgam, was arrested last week in “compliance of the provisions of law” and that she was involved in recruiting at least two militants.
“J&K Police doesn’t target any family of terrorists unnecessarily unless there is solid evidence of their involvement,” IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar told The Indian Express. “Her (Naseema’s) recent activities are serious in nature like facilitating recruitment of youth.”
Naseema is the first elderly woman in recent years to have been arrested and booked for militant activities in the Valley. Her son Tauseef Ahmad Sheikh, a Hizbul Mujahideen militant, was killed in a gunfight in Shopian district on May 6, 2018, along with Hizb commander Saddam Padder.
Naseema is also the sister of Abass Sheikh — one of the most wanted militant commanders in south Kashmir. She is the fourth member of the Sheikh family under arrest. Over a dozen members of the family joined militancy and were killed in gunfights.
Police said she was arrested for a criminal case filed two years ago. “The photo of the arrested woman, in which she is toting an automatic weapon and posing next to her son, who was an active terrorist at the time, speaks it all… She is involved in much more serious offences and her role has surfaced in recruiting at least two youth into terrorist ranks, arranging arms ammunition, communication and logistics for terrorists and terror organisations,” police said.
However, Naseema’s family has denied the charges. “The police allegations are not true. It is true that she would visit any family whose son was killed but she was not involved in any militant activity,” Naseema’s sister Rafeeqa Bano told The Indian Express.