Two prominent prisoners held in Srinagar’s Central Jail over terrorism charges were shifted to jails in Jammu on Saturday. This has angered separatists who have since then called for a shutdown in the valley to protest against this move. The two prisoners in question are, Qasim Faktoo and Shafi Shareati.
Qasim Faktoo the husband of prominent separatist leader Asiya Andrabi, has been accused of killing Human Rights activist Hriday Nath Wanchoo in 1992. He has since then been awarded life imprisonment in this matter by the Supreme Court. Shafi Shareati, on the other hand, has seen his name featured as a Jamiatul Mujahideen functionary and has been alleged to be very close to Nasirul Islam, a former head of Hizbul Mujahideen.
As per reports, the shifting of the duo was confirmed by Director general of police SP Vaid, who called this exercise to be in accordance with the state government’s order.
This shifting comes in the light of LeT commander Naveed Jhatt’s escape from a Srinagar hospital while he was being ‘treated’. Post the exercise, 40 other prisoners have also seen themselves shifted to outside prisons.
The Srinagar Central jail, the former abode of Faktoo and Shareati, about a month back was exposed as being a “paradise for terrorists”. The report alleged that the prison inmates enjoyed the possession of smartphones and were eating well thanks to Kashmiri mutton delicacies like wazwan. It was alleged that rules were openly flouted, without much intervention by the authorities.
The flouting included Qasim Faktu regularly giving a press release and another top terrorist getting visited by hoards of devotees who considered him to be some form of a godman. The use of mobiles from inside the jail was so prominent that, allegations have been made about it being the main hub of orchestrating the 2010 valley unrest.
Predictably, the shifting of the two terrorists from this supposedly comfortably jail has angered the state’s Joint Resistance Leadership comprising of separatists like Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, who have called for a “Bandh” on Wednesday against this move. Separatist Aasiya Andrabi has come out in full support of her husband by calling this shifting as illegal and barbaric.
Interestingly, the duo is also getting support from mainstream politicians like MLA Engineer Rashid who condemned the move and called it inhuman. Rashid had earlier landed in another controversy when he was questioned by the NIA regarding its terror funding probe.