Srinagar, February 05 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the illegally detained senior Hurriyat leader and the Patron of Muslim Deeni Mahaz (MDM), Dr Muhammad Qasim Fakhtoo, completed 26 years in prison, today.

The MDM in a statement issued in Srinagar said that Dr Muhammad Qasim Fakhtoo was first arrested in 1993 under draconian law, Public Safety Act (PSA). After six years of imprisonment, a TADA court acquitted him of all the charges due to lack of evidence but police arrested him again at Delhi Airport in 2002 when he was returning from London where he had participated in a conference on Kashmir, it said.

The statement said that in 2003, Dr Fakhtoo was sentenced to life imprisonment by Indian Supreme Court in a fake murder case. He challenged his detention and the court directed the Indian government to review his case.

The statement said that a Review Board constituted by the authorities in 2008 and comprising the then DGP Prisons and Principal District and Sessions Judge, Srinagar, Hasnain Massodi recommended release of Dr Fakhtoo but the CID opposed the recommendation. However, Dr Fakhtoo challenged his detention in the High Court seeking directions as per the review board’s recommendations, it said.

“The High Court quashed the impugned order and directed the government to consider the case on the basis of the Jammu and Kashmir Jail Manual,” the statement said. However, since then, the fate of his release continues to hang in balance. During his 26-year detention, he has written more than 20 books on religious, social and political topics. His six books are in English and 15 in Urdu,” it added.

Born in 1967, Dr Qasim graduated in Commerce from Islamia College Srinagar. After tying nuptial knot with chief of Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) Aasiya Andrabi, he went on to obtain various academic degrees like MA, MPhil in Islamic Studies and Maulvi Fazil from the Kashmir University.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of Dukhtaran-e-Millat in a statement in Srinagar said New Delhi has again trampled its own justice system the example of which is Kashmir’s longest serving prisoner Dr Muhammad Qasim Fakhtoo. She termed it as political vengeance against a leader who is followed by people of Kashmir for his political belief and ideology. She said that last year on March 04, the occupation authorities shifted Dr Fakhtoo from Srinagar Central Jail to a jail in Jammu.

Hurriyat forum Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in a statement in Srinagar, commenting on the completion of 26 years in prison of Dr Muhammad Qasim Fakhtoo, said the authorities have been following a revengeful policy against Dr Fakhtoo in violation of all principles of humanity and justice.

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