1,000 Days and Counting: How Long Will Kashmiri Journalist Aasif Sultan Remain in Jail?

Srinagar: Every morning 64-year-old Mohammad Sultan phones his nephew, asking him to fetch milk from the market. Sultan has recently undergone heart surgery at the Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences and has been advised by the doctors to avoid strenuous activities.

In ordinary circumstances, Sultan’s son, the 33-year-old journalist Aasif Sultan, would have ensured that there was always milk at home. But there are no ordinary circumstances in the Sultan household these days. On May 25, 2021, Aasif Sultan spent his 1,000th day in prison. There is no sign that he will be released any time soon.

Aasif was arrested on August 27, 2018, after a night raid at his house by a joint team of police and paramilitary forces. The raid continued for hours and Aasif was whisked away to the police station, his phone and laptop confiscated.

Since then he has been detained in Srinagar’s Central Jail, some 10 km from his home, allegedly for ‘harnessing known militants’, a claim his family outright denies. “My son had no militant connections at all. He was arrested for the job he was doing,” Sultan told The Wire.

Prior to his arrest, Aasif had written a story titled ‘Rise of Burhan’ for the weekly publication he worked with. According to his family, when the story was published he started getting calls from the police and other security agencies.