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In and Out of Prison for 34 years, Never Convicted Of A Crime

The Nelson Mandela of Kashmir

Background

Date Of Birth: June 14, 1953
Kashmiri Male (Anantnag)
Place of Birth: Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir
Place of Imprisonment: Tihar Jail, Delhi, India 
Charges: Never been convicted of a crime

Urgent Health Concerns: COVID-19, severe weakness, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension

Shabir Shah, 67, one of the most popular and respected political leaders in Indian Administered Kashmir, is currently serving out the 35th year of his detention. Born in 1953, Shah was arrested and detained for the first time in 1968 for organizing a protest against the Indian Government to demand self-determination for Kashmiris. In 1993, Amnesty International declared him a Prisoner of Conscience after a thorough investigation. In 1995, Shah was offered the post of chief minister of the autonomous State of Kashmir by then Indian Prime Minister. Shah is also called Nelson Mandela of Kashmir.

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Prisoner of Haqq

Shabir Shah, 67, one of the most popular and respected political leaders.

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Watch & Share Interview With His Daughter: Seher Shah

“His continuing detention is a tactic to break his resistance. The government thinks that if they keep him away from us and make us all suffer, he will agree to remaining silent. Even though he is concerned about our daughters who rarely see their father, he will not desert his principles.” – Dr. Bilqees Shah, wife of Shabbir Shah

ABOUT SHABIR SHAH

About Shabir Shah

Bio: Leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party. Ghulam Mohammed Varrier, Shah’s father, died in police custody as a Block Development Officer

Immediate Health Concerns: Conditions have worsened in the jails because of Covid-19 (Especially vulnerable because of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Also, severe weakness and back issues because of long periods of imprisonment). Medical reports indicate he should receive immediate attention.

“A high-powered committee constituted to de-congest jails to prevent the spread of Covid-19 has said there is a need to release prisoners on interim bail for 90 days or eight weeks parole in view of the ‘alarming’ and ‘threatening’ situation of the pandemic in the national capital.”

Alleged Crime and Imprisonment

Imprisonment: Has spent his life peacefully advocating for the right to Kashmiri self-determination. First jailed at 14 years of age, in and out of prison as a result of organizing protests/dissent against the Indian government.

Alleged Crime: Currently imprisoned because of alleged money laundering from Pakistan to create unrest in Kashmir

Bail: no bail

Real Crime: Advocating for the rights and self-determination of his people

 

Timeline of Arrests

1968

First Detention

At the age of 14, Shabir Shah was detained for over 3 months for organizing peaceful student protests. Afterwards, he resumed his political activities and formed the Young Men’s League. This was the beginning of his journey to and from jail. Shah was re-arrested and jailed for another 8 months. 

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1971

Second Arrest

Enduring an extensive character assassination campaign, Shabir Shah was arrested for 7 months and accused of being a pro-Pakistan activist. In fact, Shabir was advocating for a free and independent Kashmiri state.

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1972

Third Arrest Following Peaceful Demonstrations

Shabir Shah was organizing demonstrations in Jammu, leading to his eleven-month arrest.

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1973

Fourth Detainment

Upon release, Shabir protested decisions like the Shimla Agreement: a measure stipulating that Kashmir was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, thus denying United Nations or any third-party intervention. As a result, Shabir was re-arrested for another 9 months.

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1975

Arrested for Denouncing Kashmiri-Indian Agreement

Signed in 1975, the Indira-Sheikh Accord mandated that Kashmir would continue to be governed by Article 370 of India’s Constitution. Denouncing the decision, Shabir Shah was arrested for 4 months and subsequently for another 30 months.

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1980

Beginning of Underground Advocacy

Shabir Shah was re-arrested for 12 months in 1980. After his 1982 release, he was jailed after the People’s League launched the Quit Kashmir Movement. Shabir Shah was later arrested two more times until 1983.

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1992

Prisoner of Conscience Declaration

Amnesty International declared Shabir Shah a Prisoner of Conscience. 
1995- Offered Chief Minister Post By Indian Government
Shah was offered the post of chief minister of the autonomous State of Kashmir by then Indian Prime Minister. A.S. Dulat, former chief of the Indian Intelligence agency RAW and Intelligence Bureau IB, writes in his 2015-book Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years that he met Shah in Jail several times and offered him the chief ministership of Kashmir in the mid-1990s, on the orders of then prime minister Narasimha Rao. Shah rejected the offer.

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2017

Money Laundering Case

Arrested yet again on 25 July 2017 in a 2005 case. He has never been convicted for any crimes yet. 

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2019

National Investigation Agency Arrest

National Investigation Agency took Shabir Shah into custody in June 2019. To date Shah has not been convicted of any crime.

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#FreeSahbirShah Demands

Shabir Shah, 67, one of the most popular and respected political leaders in Indian Administered Kashmir, is currently serving out the 35th year of his detention.

Release him unconditionally since he has never been tried or convicted of any crime despite 34 years of detentions.
Provide human rights organizations and his family full access to him.
Release his medical records to the family
Shift him to Kashmir on house detention

Influence and Recognition

Has been recognized by Amnesty International as a “prisoner of conscience” or in other words, “a person holding political or religious beliefs that are not tolerated by their government.

Quotes:

The traditional Hindu-Muslim brotherhood in Jammu should not get undermined.Shabir Shah

India is quite aware of the consequences of war but is deliberately trying to keep up the skirmishes on the LOC so as to divert the attention of the world away from the real issue.Shabir Shah

We do not accept any solution to the Kashmir issue in which the people of Kashmir are not a party.Shabir Shah

India and Pakistan are definitely parties to the issue, but the major party is the people of the [Kashmir] state, and without their active participation, nothing can be achieved.Shabir Shah

Books:

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