Kashmiri terror suspect in Tihar to contest elections

November 5th, 2008 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Srinagar, Nov 5 (IANS) A Kashmiri terror suspect lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail has jumped into the electoral fray aiming “to get justice”.Mohammad Iqbal Jan, jailed since November 2006, is fighting on the National Panthers Party (NPP) nomination from Kashmir Valley’s Bandipora constituency, where polling will be held in the first phase Nov 17.

Jan, 30, a businessman from Bandipora, was arrested by the Delhi Police claiming that they recovered Rs.500,000 and a cache of explosive material from him. However, Jan and his family have been denying the charge.

Having lost all hopes to prove his “innocence”, Jan finally decided to fight the elections hoping it will help him come out of jail.

“The police have wrongly implicated him. He had acquired a loan of Rs.1 million from a bank and was carrying Rs.500,000 to Delhi to clear dues to a gas dealer from whom he used to purchase cylinders for his gas agency in Kashmir,” Jan’s uncle Nazir told IANS.

“Now he wants to contest the polls to fight for justice,” Nazir said.

Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh, also a lawyer, gave Jan the ticket to prove his innocence.

“Jan is innocent,” Bhim Singh said. “By giving him a ticket, I want to prove that Kashmiris are nationalists who are against the establishment, not the nation. There are leaders who have been chargesheeted for criminal conspiracy and still aspire to become prime minister,” the Panthers Party chief added.

Singh specially sent his Delhi unit chief Sanjay Sachdev to Bandipora to file Jan’s papers last week.

PRO Tihar jail Sunil Gupta confirmed that they had sent papers, including affidavit, for Jan’s contesting election.

“We have forwarded Mohammed Iqbal Jan’s request for contesting elections to electoral office in Jammu and Kashmir some four days back,” Gupta said.

Campaigning for Jan will be done by his family. Despite a sympathy wave for him in his hometown, Jan will have to face a tough contest fighting stalwarts from National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

PDP has fielded Nizam-ud-Din Bhat and National Conference has Ghulam Rasool Naz contesting from the Bandipora constituency.

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