DM says Shabir Shah acquired houses, hotels worth Rs 10 Cr
7th PSA slapped on Kashmiri separatist leader, lodged in Jammu jail
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Apr 19: Known as ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ and ‘Kashmir’s Nelson Mandela’ in the Valley’s separatist camp, Peoples League (PL) founder and Chairman of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Shabir Ahmed Shah, has been lodged in Kot Bhalwal Jail of Jammu after his seventh detention under Public Safety Act (PSA) was confirmed by District Magistrate of Srinagar. In addition to the cliché charges of running a secessionist campaign and indulging in terrorist violence, 55-year-old Shah is now facing the never-before accusation of having acquired properties worth Rs 10 Cr from the money he allegedly got from Hawala channels.
Srinagar DM, Meraj Ahmed Kakru, confirmed to Early Times that Shabir Shah had been shifted from Srinagar to Jammu and lodged in Kot Bhalwal Central Jail as he was detained under PSA. According to a dossier prepared by the counter-intelligence wing of J&K Police and confirmed by the DM, Shah has acquired land measuring 4 Kanlas and 3 Marlas from Khasra No: 50 in the name of his wife at the famous tourist resort of Pahalgam. If the charge is to be believed, Shah’s estate at Pahalgam is worth Rs 2.00 Crore. He has been further charged with having raised a luxury hotel worth Rs 5.00 Crore at Pahalgam.
In the same dossier, Shah has been charged with having acquired a plush house worth Rs 1.50 Crore in the posh Sanat Nagar locality in Srinagar outskirts and another house valued at Rs 2.00 Crore in the adjoining colony of Goripora. The separatist leader has allegedly got the resources from the illegal Hawala channels and utilized the same not only on funding terrorist activities in Kashmir valley but also on acquisition of expensive properties, including residential houses and a luxury hotel.
Other allegations slapped on Shah include his anti-national activities, including floating then pro-Pakistan Peoples League in early 1980s and DFP in mid-1990s. It is seventh time in succession that the authorities have detained Shah under PSA which authorizes his imprisonment for a maximum term of two years without the obligation of producing a Challan against the detainee in a judicial court like other routine crimes.
After a chain of arrests and releases, Shah had been picked up from a Srinagar locality during the Amarnath land row of 2008 and detained under PSA. Since then, his detention has been extended and re-invoked several times. Earlier this year, Shah had been released but he was again detained with fresh charges as he, according to Police, persisted with his secessionist activities. However, most of the separatist leaders arrested and detained in the last two years have been released and they have been all carrying out similar activities. Muslim League activist Massarat Alam and National Front Chairman Nayeen Khan are other prominent separatist leaders who have been detained repeatedly and are currently lodged in different jails of the state.
Shah’s colleagues claim that he has spent 25 years and 3 months in different jails and detention centers of the country since his first arrest in hometown Anantnag in 1968. They claim that no other separatist leader in Jammu and Kashmir has been in detention for more than 10 years. Few years back, Shah was married off to a lady doctor from Doda district of Jammu.