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Prisoner of Haqq: Shabir Shah “Nelson Mandela of Kashmir”

Background

DOB: June 14, 1953

Kashmiri Male (Anantnag) imprisoned in India

Place of Birth: Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir

Place of Imprisonment: Tihar Jail, Delhi (April 20, 2021)

Charges: Money Laundering

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

“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:

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

No bail, unclear when he will be tried because of Covid-19 conditions worsening in India

Two cases: 2005 and 2007 instances of money laundering, arrested on July 25, 2017

NIA took Shah into custody in June 2019 for funds linked to Jammat ad-Dawah, allegedly responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

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,” Shair 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

Shabir Shah: A living legend in Kashmir history Book Written by Altaf Hussein

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