Srinagar, July 7: Where there is will there is a way. This maxim holds true for a Kashmiri detainee who is facing life imprisonment in Central jail here. The steel bars and barbed wires of the jail could not kill his passion to acquire more knowledge and importantly spread it to others.
Ashiq Hussain Faetoo, popularly known as Dr Muhammad Qasim, was arrested in 1993 on charges of “being a member of an outlawed organisation whose aim was to secede the State of Jammu and Kashmir from Union of India.”
His feat came to light on Thursday when he was awarded doctorate on thesis “Sunnah as the source of Islamic Shariah –an analytical study of Ibn Taimmiyah,” by Shah Hamdan Institute of Islamic Studies, Kashmir University.
"His achievement should be an example for all the detainees that they can also do meaningful things even in jails and spread message of Islam,” said his wife, Syeda Asiya Andrabi who is also the chief of Dukhtaran-e-Millat.
'The detainees should not waste their time in gossip. My husband who is facing life imprisonment acquires knowledge and shares it with others in the jail. By his discourses many criminals have become good citizens,” Asiya said adding, “he won’t stop and pursue further studies.”
Asiya said life is all about learning, sharing and caring for others. “Everybody should have a goal in life otherwise our existence is futile,” she said.
"He (Muhammad Qasim) has conducted himself as a model prisoner and a tutor in the IGNOU centre of Central Jail imparting education to his fellow prisoners,” chairman of Human Rights Guild, Advocate A Mateen writes in book on Qasim ‘From acquittal to imprisonment.’
He describes him as an Islamic scholar, political ideologue and writer of contemporary Kashmir.
In the same book, Syed Tassaduq Hussain, a senior advocate writes: “Dr Qasim has done a yeoman’s service to the cause of the prisoners throughout the developing countries who have misfortune of getting implicated is such political trials.”
Even authorities appreciate Qasim’s intellect and motivation power.
“You being an educated person could easily lure the other youth to the ranks of militants by brain washing,” reads one of the grounds of detention.
Born in 1967, Qasim graduated in Commerce from Islamia College in downtown Srinagar. He went on to obtain a number of degrees like MA, M.Phil in Islamic Studies and Maulvi Fazil from University of Kashmir.
He was charged of hatching a conspiracy to kill H N Wanchoo (a charge which he denies), trade union leader and human rights activist. He was arrested in 1993 along with with wife and son and in 2001 he was acquitted by TADA court Jammu. However, he was booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) and in 2003 was sentenced to life imprisonment.