Srinagar: A Kashmiri engineer, who has spent nearly two decades in various prisons across India on charges of triggering blasts in New Delhi in 1996, was acquitted Monday by a court in Jaipur city of north India’s Rajasthan state.
Farooq Ahmad Khan, a mechanical engineer, who was arrested on May 23, 1996 by the infamous Special Task Force of J&K police and instantly shifted to New Delhi’s Tihar Jail, was acquitted by the Additional District Court, Bandhikui, Jaipur, his brother Ashiq told Kashmir Reader.
However, four other Kashmiris arrested along with Farooq—Abdul Gani Goni, Mohammad Ali Bhat, Mirza Nisar and Lateef Ahmad Waja—were awarded lifer by the court for their alleged role in militancy.
“I’m happy that my brother is being released after nearly two decades of incarceration. At the same time, the lifer given to other Kashmiri brethren has saddened me,” Ashiq, who was on way to Jaipur Central Jail, to receive his brother, said.
Farooq, a resident of Janglat Mandi, Anantnag was facing charges of triggering bomb blasts in New Delhi and Jaipur. The Delhi court acquitted him from the charges after a 14-year trial. However, he was currently undergoing trial in the Jaipur bomb blast case.
Farooq, whose family has a long association with pro-freedom politics, had completed his degree in engineering from Madras University and higher studies from London before joining J&K’s Public Health Engineering department in 1991. He served the government as a junior engineer for five years before he was arrested by police on charges of militant activities.
He was lodged in different jails within and outside the state. He was suffering from multiple ailments at the Jaipur Central Jail, where he has been detained from the last four years. His family had also filed an appeal before the Rajasthan court seeking the trial to be held on day-to-day basis.
“In November last year, Farooq’s ailing mother had collapsed during her meet with her incarcerated son. She has developed heart problems due to separation from her son,” a close relative said.
In a letter written to his brother Ashiq around five years ago, Farooq had said, “I am a human living in the ‘so-called’ world’s biggest democratic country. I am an engineering graduate and I was serving the Kashmir government. I joined its services in 1991 as a junior engineer. Now if you are thinking that at this point of time I will be promoted and will be living a healthy life with my loved ones, then you are wrong…I am living the life of an unknown prisoner in jails for past 12 years. We all know that life imprisonment means a maximum of 14 years, which I’ve almost completed. But you will be shocked that I have not crossed my under trial period yet.
“Hail democracy! But this is not one, two or three, we are in hundreds. I have been accused of nothing…My Allah is witness. At the same time I got a chance to keenly monitor the sufferings of Kashmiris lodged in different Indian jails. This injustice has made me understand that India neither has understood us (Kashmiris) nor will understand us…”