Kashmir’s prominent trade leader Mubeen Shah, who was among several businessmen booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) in August, has been “temporary released” from a jail in Agra. This comes ahead of a crucial hearing in his case before the Supreme Court on Monday.
Shah, who was seriously unwell at the time of arrest, told The Indian Express, “I am waiting for what happens on Monday (in SC) and then I will go to the hospital. I am very unwell.”
After his arrest, Shah was sent to a jail in Agra. After his family sought visitation rights, J&K Home department issued a letter to Director General of Prisons, UP government, on August 28, requesting to him to allow the family members to meet Shah “in terms of the provisions of the jail manual”. Shah’s family was finally allowed to see him in jail only in September.
“He was released on Saturday afternoon from Agra jail and is now in Delhi. He had been suffering from nephrological and cardiological problems and in jail, he has lost weight,” Shah’s son-in-law Shuaib Shahdad said. “The doctors have advised some medical investigations which we are going to carry out tomorrow.”
Shahdad said the order issued by the authorities says Shah has been temporarily released till March 7, 2020.
The family had approached the Supreme Court, challenging Shah’s detention. Shahdad said during the last hearing in the apex court, the government had assured the court that they are in the process to release him.
“He is not involved in any criminal activity, nor is he a stone pelter. His lawyer is fighting the case in the Supreme Court and the focus will remain that the PSA charges are quashed,” said Shahdad.
Shah is a doctor by qualification and belongs to one of Kashmir’s oldest business families. He is the chief executive of the Alson Group and the Kohimaran Group. The family’s interests range from automobiles and cement to marble and matches. It also has business interests abroad, including handicraft showrooms and restaurants in Dubai and Malaysia.
Shah, a former Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries chairman, was arrested from his Srinagar residence on August 4. Besides Shah, Yaseen Khan, president of Kashmir Economic Alliance, and Shakeel Qalander, former president of the Federation of Chamber of Industries, Kashmir, were booked under PSA ahead of August 5, when the Centre scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two Union Territories. Qalender and Khan continue to remain in detention. Shah’s case had come up during hearings on the Kashmir situation in US recently. In October, Indian American lawmaker Pramila Jayapal had raised Shah’s detention with the State department representative Assistant Secretary Alice Wells, who had said the US government has “explicitly raised” Shah’s case with India.
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries has demanded the release of other detainees as well.
“It is a welcome gesture because his [Shah’s] health conditions were very bad and he had lost a lot of weight. Now the government should set a trend of releasing all the Kashmiris, be it civil society, businessmen, eminent lawyers and others,” KCCI president Sheikh Aashiq said.
(WITH ENS, Delhi)
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