Dr Qasim Faktoo: The Nelson Mandela of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and KashmirFebruary 6, 2024
On February 5, 2024, Dr Qasim Faktoo, a distinguished figure in the Hurriyat movement, marked a grim milestone – 31 years of incarceration in the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Born on November 13, 1967, in the Zaldagar area of Srinagar, Dr Faktoo, despite his academic accolades, including a PhD in Islamic Studies awarded during his imprisonment in 2016, has become a symbol of the relentless struggle for Kashmiri self-determination.
Married to Aasiya Andrabi, a notable leader in the Hurriyat movement and Chief of Dukhtaraan-e-Millat, a Human Rights organization in occupied Kashmir, Dr Faktoo’s influence extends beyond his academic achievements. He served as the Chief of the Muslim League and founded the Muslim Deeni Mahaaz, a religious organization, demonstrating a commitment to the socio-political fabric of the region.
The genesis of Dr Faktoo’s legal woes traces back to 1993 when he was initially arrested under section 3 (TADA Court) on a fabricated murder charge in December 1992. Despite being granted bail in 1993, he faced a renewed arrest in 2000, eventually receiving a life sentence in 2003. This saga paints a stark picture of the alleged injustice and bias within India’s legal system, particularly in the context of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
In 2016, the Supreme Court of India rejected the proposal for his release, exacerbating the emotional toll on his family. His son, Ahmed Bin Qasim, has bravely shared glimpses of Dr Faktoo’s imprisonment, revealing instances of torture and attempts to coerce him into mainstream Indian politics. Sadly, his experience echoes that of numerous Kashmiris facing incarceration under dubious charges.
“I have never seen my Father under the open sky,” Ahmed Bin Qasim lamented, shedding light on the harsh conditions faced by Dr Faktoo’s family. Reports of third-degree torture, including electric shocks, during his arrest raise grave concerns for his well-being, with fears that he may suffer a fate akin to other freedom leaders in Indian jails.
Despite these challenges, Dr Faktoo’s intellectual resilience endures. With over 20 books on politics and social issues to his name, he continues to shed light on the oppressive nature of Indian occupation. Notably, his work “Baang” was recently launched in a ceremony organized by the Kashmir Youth Alliance (KYA), featuring a speech by Dr Arif Alvi, the President of Pakistan.
In recognition of his unwavering struggle and intellectual contributions, Dr Qasim Faktoo is often dubbed the “Nelson Mandela of Kashmir.” The open violation of the Geneva Conventions on prisoners’ rights by India, imprisoning Kashmiris based on their political views, is a testament to the entrenched extremism within Modi’s administration, highlighting the dire need for international attention and intervention in the ongoing Kashmir conflict.