SRINAGAR – With her son in jail for the past six years for a crime she says he never committed, Mahmooda Akhtar has signed on to a global online petition platform to secure his release.
At 55, the grieving mother has already exhausted all options and resources fighting for Muhammad Rafiq Shah, jailed for the serial blasts in Delhi that killed 76 people and left 200 injured, and has now joined the Change.org, perhaps, as a last resort.
Change.org is the world’s largest online petition platform, empowering people everywhere to create the change they want to see. Akhter has lodged an online petition, seeking prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh to intervene and release her only son.
I request the Kashmir Diaspora to help in signing my online petition, and to press the central and the state governments to release my son, Akhtar, now bedridden by her fight and ordeal, says.
I also request the students of all universities in the state and outside to show solidarity with me and help me in securing my sons release, she says.
Shah, a student of Islamic Studies at the Kashmir University, was arrested from his Alasteing home outside Srinagar on November 21, 2005, by Kashmir and Delhi police on information provided by another accused during interrogation.
Rafiq has never visited Delhi, his family maintains. Besides, university records show clearly that he was present in class during the days of the blasts.
Initially, the police claimed that the student was involved in arranging funds for the blasts and planting explosives in a bus.
His detention has been extended several times by courts in Delhi on the pretext that his alleged role in handling the bombs was being probed. He is presently lodged in Delhis dreaded Tihar Jail.
It may be recalled that a Kashmiri youth, Syed Maqbool Shah, an accused in the 1996 Lajpat Nagar blast case, was acquitted of all charges last year by the Delhi High Court, but after spending 14 precious years of his life in jail.
Raifqs mother says that the 6-year-long ordeal has crippled her family.
Every time I pass by the university, I want to set it ablaze for having devoured my son, she says. Nobody seems to be bothered.
Pertinently, Change.org claims to have more than 20 million users in 196 countries, which it claims that people every day use their tools to transform their communities locally, nationally and globally.
The URL For the one line petition seeking his sons release: http://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/honourable-prime-minister-of-india-manmohan-singh-release-kashmir-university-student-muhammad-rafiq-shah
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