||KASHMIR LEADER

         qfThe separatist leader who completed 24 years in jail in February  this  year  has  authored   19  books  &  more  than  125  students  completed their graduation and post  graduation in prison under his guidance On February 24 this year, Chairman  Muslim Deeni Mahaz Dr Muhammad  Qasim Faktoo completed 24 years of  incarceration “for holding political be – liefs that are unacceptable to the ruling  establishment”. He is the longest serving convict in Central Jail, Srinagar Dr  Qasim  was  arrested  on  February 5, 1993 and booked under section  3 (TADA), under section 302 r/w 120- B RPC. TADA Court Jammu acquit – ted him and other two accused in the  case on July 14, 2001 and made the  following observation: “The prosecution has miserably failed to prove the  case against the accused persons.”

         The  Government challenged the acquittal  in the Supreme Court which sentenced  him  to  life  imprisonment  with  this  direction at the end of the judgment:  “They (accused) shall be given benefit  of the period already undergone (undertrial period) by them.” Dr Qasim,  the  Chairman  of  Muslim  Deeni  Mahaz (MDM), is serving life imprison – ment  for  his  alleged  involvement  in  the murder of a human rights activist  H N Wanchoo in 1992. However, the  counsel of Dr Qasim rejects the charges and alleges that he was implicated  through fabricated evidences. During  his imprisonment in July 2006, he was  awarded Ph.D. in Islamic Studies and  is presently working toward his second  Ph.D. programme. He has authored 19  books and delivered lectures to uni – versity students and more than 125 students  completed  their  graduation  and  post  graduation  in  prison  under  his  guidance.

One of his son’s Ahmad bin Qasim, 17, has not  spent even a day with his father, his elder brother  Muhammad bin Qasim, 25, only spent nine months of  his entire life with him while their mother, Asiya spent  only two years of 26 years of her married life in the  company of her husband

During his  imprisonment in  July 2006, he was  awarded Ph.D. in  Islamic Studies and  is presently working  toward his second  Ph.D. programme.  He has authored  14 books and  delivered lectures to  university students  and more than 125  students completed  their graduation  and post graduation  in prison under his  guidance

        On  completion  of 14 years, J&K High Court directed  the  Jail  authorities  to  place  Dr  Qasim’s  case  before  the  Review  Board  for  review  of  his  case.  The  Review  Board while taking into consideration  all  aspects  of  the  case  recommended   premature release of Dr Qasim in its  meeting held on June 6, 2008.  The  J&K Government rejected the Review  Board’s Recommendations not on the  basis  of  interpretation  of  the  life  imprisonment   that   life   imprisonment    means  imprisonment  of  convicts  whole natural life but on the basis of  J&K Jail Manual Rule 54.1 which, ac cording to Government, debars TADA  lifer  convicts  from  release  on  completion of two-third (14 years) of 20  years. The J&K High Court quashed  the impugned order and directed the  Government to consider the case on  the basis of J&K Jail Manual “Keeping  in view the discussion made herein – above read with law laid down by the  Apex Court, the respondents had to  consider  the  case  of  the  petitioner  in   terms of the Jail Manual and lay laid  down by the Apex Court. Viewed thus,  the writ petition is allowed impugned  order is quashed and respondents are  directed to consider the case of the petitioner as indicated above and made  a decision,” the OWP No. 997/2009  dated June 5, 2010 states.

            The Government challenged the order before  the double bench of the High Court  which observed that “the petition as  highlighted warrants favourable consideration but impediment in the way  of respondent (writ petitioner) is the  scope of Rule 54.1 of the JK Jail Man – ual which orders him ineligible.” The High Court Bar Association has  released a book ‘The Victim of Political Vendetta’ which is the compilation  of court cases and chargesheets filed  by the State and discusses the judgments and cases filed against Faktoo.  Last year on November 16, a single  bench of the High Court dismissed his  plea for early release. The single bench  had observed that life imprisonment  cannot  be  equivalent  to  imprisonment for 14 or 20 years and said life  sentence meant imprisonment for life.  The  State  government  has  also  op posed his release with the same argument that “life” means imprisonment  till death. “He is suffering incarcera – tion for holding political beliefs that  are unacceptable to the ruling establishment and he has been convicted  under an infamous anti-militancy law  in a trial that manifestly was wanting  in  judicial  fairness  and  overzealous  prosecutors employed dubious investigatory methods for collecting mate – rials of evidential value on the basis of  which Dr Qasim was ultimately tried  and  sentenced  for  life,”  said  noted  lawyer  Sayid  Tasaduq  Hussain.  Hu – man Rights Activist, advocate Sayid  Arshad  Andrabi  said  that  analyzing  the history of events associated with  the trial of Dr Qasim who is scholarly  figure and has spent his time educat – ing  the  hundreds  of  inmates  inside  jail preparing them for examinations  of  distance  learning  courses  under  IGNOU,  concrete  recommendations  were  made  by  jail  authorities  for  granting  him  remission.  “Petitions  were filed in the JK high court seeking interpretation of the provisions of  the jail manual and asking for the rea – son  for  selective  approach  in  granting remission in similar cases. But all  attempts  have  failed.

           The  reason  is  simple, the ruling regimes who have  no moral or legal right to remain in  power are afraid of him. They have  no answer to his arguments. Failing  to  secure  justice  under  the  existing  available redress mechanism, the individual can only be advised to invoke  the remedies available under International Humanitarian Law,” he said. Dr  Qasim  was  born  in  Zaldagar,  Srinagar on November 13, 1967.  He is  married to Dukhtaran-e-Millat Chief  Aasiya Andrabi. He has a doctorate in  Islamic Studies and has authored and  edited 19 books (5 in English and 14  in  Urdu).  He  joined  Hizbul  Mujahi – deen in 1989 as its spokesperson. Dr  Qasim’s wife, chairperson of Dukhta – ran-e-Millat,  Syeda  Aasiya  Andrabi  has spent little time with her husband  after their marriage. One of his son’s  Ahmad bin Qasim, 17, has not spent  even a day with his father, his elder  brother  Muhammad  bin  Qasim,  25,  only  spent  nine  months  of  his  entire   life with him while their mother, Asiya spent only two years of 26 years of  her married life in the company of her  husband, reads a news story in Rising Kashmir. “His absence had a deep  impact in the lives of our children. My  husband  and  I  were  both  prepared  for worse and when he was arrested,  people used to be martyred in deten – tion. However, the upbringing of our  children suffered a lot.”