Srinagar: The Chief of Muslim Deeni Mahaz (MDM) Dr Muhammad Qasim will complete 23 years in prison on February 5, 2016.
MDM has paid glowing tributes to the steadfastness of its chief Dr Muhammad Qasim on the completion of 23 years of his incarceration.
The general Secretary of the MDM Muhammad Maqbool Bhat said that the bravery and resolution shown by Dr Qasim is exemplary.
“India and its stooges consider Dr Qasim a threat and, therefore he is languishing behind bars in a case in which TADA court Jammu released him citing insufficient evidence. But the Supreme Court sentenced him to life in the basis of a mere confessional statement that too given in detention,” Bhat said in a statement issued here.
The continued incarceration, according to legal experts, is an act of vengeance on the part of the state government.
It is believed that Dr Qasim refused to succumb, thus prompting the government not to consider his release under 21.2 Chapter XXI, 46.18 Chapter XLVI of the Jammu Kashmir Jail Manual.
These chapters make a prisoner eligible for release after completing 20 years.
The jail manual says that a prisoner undergoing life imprisonment can be released after completing 14 years in prison.
This is what governments across India have been following since 1947.
Dr Qasim’s case was also forwarded for consideration by the review board after he completed 14 years in prison. The board recommended his release but the government rejected the recommendation.
“Following government’s rejection, a petition was preferred in the High Court. Justice Mansoor quashed the order and directed the government to consider the case afresh. However, he filed an appeal before a division bench while setting aside the single bench order held life imprisonment according to Jail Manual is 20 years and thus it debars Qasim from release after 14 years,” reads a pamphlet released by the MDM.
Dr Qasim was arrested on February 5, 1993 in connection with murder of Hadaynath Wanchoo under sections 3 TADA, 302, 120 RPC.
The TADA court at Jammu while acquitting him of the charges held: “The prosecution has miserably failed to prove the case against the accused persons.”
The state, however, challenged the acquittal in the Supreme Court which sentenced Qasim to life imprisonment on the basis of a confessional statement obtained under section 15 TADA.
Dr Qasim was released on bail in March 1999 and re-arrested in February 2000. The TADA court acquitted him in July 2001 and he appeared before the court in January 2002.
Dr Qasim was born on November 13, 1967 and has a doctorate in Islamic studies. He has authored 19 books in English and Urdu.