14-year illegal detention ruins life of Kashmir youth
Srinagar: A Kashmiri, Syed Maqbool Shah, who spent 14 years in illegal detention and acquitted by an Indian court in 2010, is still looking for a livelihood.
Syed Maqbool Shah, 43, in a media interview in Srinagar said that he had just passed Class 10 when he was arrested by Indian police and subsequently imprisoned for 14 years in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
Maqbool Shah, 17-year-old at the time of his arrest, was charged with ‘conspiracy’ of executing the bomb blasts in New Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar area that killed more than 10 persons and injured many others. In 2010, he was acquitted of all the charges.
“After my release I was confused about what to do. I could have started my education afresh but I had no time and money. I wanted to adopt a profession for livelihood, but had no expertise. I faced a situation like that of a fish out of water,” he said.
His family used to be prosperous before his arrest. The family ran a business of Kashmiri art that provided livelihood to more than 350 workers. Shah’s arrest truncated his family’s expanding business.
He said that his precious years of youth were snatched from him for no offence of his and his future was destroyed. “I don’t see any purpose in life,” he said.
The then puppet chief minister of occupied Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, promised him rehabilitation within a week but all that turned out to be a lie; not a word of it fulfilled.
Maqbool Shah was one of the nine Kashmiris who were accused of the Lajpat Nagar bomb blasts. Besides him, Mirza Iftikhar Hussain, Latif Ahmed Waza and Abdul Ghani were also acquitted of all the charges.