Azadi Chacha’ barred from attending chacha’s funeral

Authorities Thursday disallowed Sarjan Barkati, the face of anti-government rallies who earned sobriquets like ‘Azadi Chacha’ and ‘Pied Piper’, from participating in the funeral prayers of his maternal uncle.
Barkati’s uncle died Wednesday evening and the funeral was held during the night at his ancestral graveyard at Rebbon, Shopian.

Talking to Rising Kashmir, Barkati’s wife Shabrooza said their family was waiting till midnight for his release but he was not allowed to have the last glimpse of his uncle.
“He (Barkati) was 5-years-old when his father died. His maternal uncle, Abdul Ghani Challa took all responsibility of his care and treated him like his own son,” she said.

“When he (Barkati) turned 16, his mother passed away. It was Challa who would encourage him to face challenges,” Shabrooza said adding that after her husband’s arrest, Challa would occasionally visit the family.
She said they approached Police officials at Zainapora, Shopian to seek his release for an hour but they denied that.

“They told us that it would be better for us to visit the Kulgam Police Station but when we went there, they too cited lame excuses and turned our request down,” Shabrooza said.
The family has decided to approach the High Court within next two days to appeal for Barkati’s release.
Barakati is currently lodged at Sub Jail Mattan, Anantnag on cases related to 2016 uprising.
“We appeal Governor N N Vohra to free him for three to four hours so that he could visit his uncle’s home,” they said. “We will cooperate with the Police and assure that no such incident will happen which will worsen the situation in the area.”
Barkati, who has two children, is widely known as a crowd puller of 2016 uprising in south Kashmir districts and for his peculiar style of sloganeering.
He was arrested on October 1, 2016 at Wanpoh Anantnag.
For the past two years his family is awaiting his release.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Shopian, Sandeep Choudhary told Rising Kashmir that he cannot comment on the issue.
“I don’t know anything about this case and can’t comment on it,” Choudhary said.