Dr Qasim Fakhtoo – longest-serving prisoner, often called Kashmir’s Nelson Mandela

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Srinagar: Dr Qasim Fakhtoo, the distinguished Hurriyat figure, completed 31 years in incarceration in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir on February 05, 2024.

According to Kashmir Media Service, born on November 13, 1967, in Zaldagar area of Srinagar, Dr Fakhtoo holds academic accolades, including a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies awarded during his imprisonment in 2016.

Married to Aasiya Andrabi, a prominent Kashmiri Hurriyat leader and Chief of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, a Human Rights organization in occupied Kashmir, Dr Fakhtoo served as the Chief of the Muslim League and Chairman of Muslim Deeni Mahaaz, a religious organization he founded.

Dr Fakhtoo’s legal troubles began in 1993 when he was first arrested under section 3 (TADA Court) on a fabricated murder charge in December 1992. Despite being granted bail in 1993, he was rearrested in 2000 and later sentenced to life imprisonment in 2003. The sentence is a depiction of injustice and the biased law system of India and its puppet courts in IIOJK.

In 2016, the Supreme Court of India rejected the proposition to release him. His son, Ahmed Bin Qasim, shared the emotional toll of Dr Faktoo’s imprisonment, revealing instances of torture and attempts to coerce him into mainstream Indian politics. Like Fakhtoo, thousands of Kashmiris are languishing in Indian jails under fake cases.

Ahmed Bin Qasim stated, “I have never seen my Father under the open sky,” highlighting the harsh conditions his family faces. Dr Fakhtoo endured third-degree torture, including electric shocks, during his arrest. Concerns for his well-being persist, with fears that he may meet a fate similar to other freedom leaders in Indian jails.

Despite the challenges, Dr Fakhtoo’s intellectual spirit perseveres. He has authored more than 20 books on politics and social issues, addressing the oppressive nature of Indian occupation. One of his notable works, “Baang,” was recently launched in a ceremony organized by the Kashmir Youth Alliance (KYA), with a speech by Dr Arif Alvi, the President of Pakistan.

In recognition of his enduring struggle and intellectual contributions, Dr Qasim Fakhtoo is often referred to as the “Nelson Mandela of Kashmir.”

India is openly violating Geneva Conventions on prisoners’ rights by imprisoning Kashmiris on the basis of their political views is a true reflection of Modi’s extremist mindset.

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