Man found innocent after 14 years in jail
Innocent until proven guilty, is that so? Imagine the trauma of a man and his family whose son spent a decade-and-a-half in jail on charges a court found recently didn't stand. Mohammad Shah is now a free man, but his family has died waiting for their boy to return. All he now has are memories.
Mohammad Maqbool Shah visits the grave of his father and sister in Srinagar. He last saw them 14 years ago, when they saw him off as a class 10th student in Delhi. Today he is trying to console himself by offering prayers at the grave of his father.
"I can't believe my father and my sister are buried here. I can't believe that they are in front of me like this,'' says Maqbool Shah.
Twenty-nine-year-old Shah is finally a free man after spending half of his life in Delhi's Tihar Jail.
In 1996, he was arrested by the Delhi Police as an accused in a bomb blast in the Capital's Lajpat Nagar. But this week, a court judged him innocent and set him free.
The loss Maqbool has suffered is enormous. His 24-year-old sister died of brain hemorrhage after she saw the plight of her brother in Tihar Jail. "If this justice was delivered at the right time, my career would not have been ruined. My career is ruined. My home is destroyed. My father and my sister are dead,'' says Mohammad Maqbool Shah.
"It has ruined us. Death struck our family. It is as if death has entered our home,'' says Maqbool's mother Zoona.
Shattered, Maqbool says he has no idea what to do now.
Who will compensate for the loss Maqbool and his family have suffered. He has lost prime of his youth, his education, his father and sister. Maqbool's case is a classical example why people in the Valley are cynical about the safety of Kashmiris in other states of India.