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(1999) Shabir Shah Finally Released, False Charges Dropped

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 11, 2009

Press Release – Dec. 2, 1999

Shabir Shah Finally Released, False Charges Dropped

Shah studying develepments and current situation

Jammu – Shabir Shah, president of the pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, has finally
been released from a severe and lengthy detention, and the false charges registered against him have been dropped.

With Shah’s release, his gruelling almost 4 months detention (3 months of which were continuous solitary confinement) has come to an end. Shabir Shah thanked all those organizations and individuals who had worked to put pressure for his release, especially Amnesty International which had taken extra-efforts to mount pressure.

Shah said that no matter what detention or pressure India applies, he would not sway from his nonviolent struggle for the re-unification and independence of Jammu & Kashmir. He said that he had already sacrificed his 22 years in jail and that a few months would make no difference in his convictions.

Shabir Shah plans to return to Srinagar as soon as possible. Since his release, he has been taking serious notice of current developments in Jammu & Kashmir, trying to understand the events that have occurred during his prolonged detention. His senior colleagues in JKDFP, as well as various experts and intellectuals, have been briefing him on all the facets of the developments: from the military coup in Pakistan, to the escalation in human rights violations and general violence, to the detention of members of other parties and their current condition.

After taking all of this into account and taking some time to ponder the current situation, Shabir Shah intends to formulate a plan of action and resume the grassroots activities of JKDFP in full swing. He is due to give a press conference in Srinagar sometime next week.

Long before the election farce began in September, Shabir Shah had been targetted severely by the government since the beginning of August in an attempt to disrupt his public activities and programmes. After being repeatedly arrested and re-arrested through the month of August, Shabir Shah was arrested and totally removed from the political scene in Kashmir before the election polling started in Kashmir.

From September 2nd onward Shah was kept under solitary confinment in various detention centers, including Batote, Chani, Udhampur, Ramnagar, and Ramban since September 2. All along he was kept incommunicado from his family, his party, and the general public. Throughout this initial 6 weeks period of detention no case nor charges were registered against Mr. Shah.

Then in October, when members of the APHC were being arrested, the Government of India implicated Shabir
Shah in a false case and booked him under sections 7/25 Indian Arms Act for smuggling weapons. Shockingly, the specific case involved a police claim of Shah’s involvement in the smuggling of arms in a truck which flipped over on the Srinagar-Jammu highway on September 30, revealing a massive cache of arms.

The alleged incident occurred on September 30 – while Mr. Shah was already being held in detention since September 2 ! The fact that India has now withdrawn the charges, proves that the charges were false to begin with.


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