Mohammad Abdul Qadeer was a constable who fired at his superior as he refused to take his orders to shoot at an irate mob during the 1990 communal riots that rocked the city of Hyderabad. It is now 22 years since he has been in jail as a life convict and today there has been a plea been made to the President of India to grant him mercy and release him on humanitarian grounds as he is unwell.
Qadeer today is 55 years old and suffers from various ailments. He is the eldest of the 9 siblings. Married to Sabira Begum in the year 1986, Qadeer has four children, two sons and two daughters. His children have hardly seen their father since he went to jail exactly four years after his marriage and has been released on parole only once in the year 2011 for seven days.
It was in the year 1990 that Hyderabad was rocked by severe communal rioting. Qadeer was a constable at that point of time. While on duty he was given orders to fire at the irate mob. Qadeer however argued that he would not fire at a group of people who he believed were innocent and not responsible for the riot. An argument took place between him and his superior and when the pressure to fire at the mob grew, he drew his gun out and fired at the officer as a result of which his superior died.
Immediately after this he surrendered himself before the police. He claims that he was tortured by the police no end. He remained for a few days in police custody before being produced before the court. In the court he made an emotional appeal to the judge stating that he could not bear to see the officer firing at the innocent people who were losing their lives. Despite requesting the officer to stop and also not to persuade him to fire at this mob, his pleas were turned down. It was not planned, but an emotional act as he was unable to bear the killing of innocent people.
The court however sentenced him to life imprisonment. Since then he has been in jail. During his long tenure in jail he was shifted between the jails at Rajahmundry, Visakhapatnam and Warangal. Today he is at the Cherlapally jail.
During his stint in jail he faced many acts of inhumanity. One of the relatives of the deceased officer had even gone to jail and beaten him up badly as a result of which he injured both his hands and legs severely. Qadeer who is lodged in a high security cell was taken to a doctor and has been advised to amputate the leg.
In his mercy plea he states that he completed his sentence in the year 2004, the mandatory 14 year term for a life convict. However he has not been released as yet. His family members say that he suffers from various ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, mental depression
The Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee which has taken up his cause says that generally any government releases life prisoners on the basis of their good conduct. But in this case, even after the completion of 14 years he remains in jail. He has done 22 years in jail and his health has completely collapsed. He had killed a police officer only to protect the life of innocents. Even though he has completed his term of life sentence, he is not released only because the governments are taking revenge. Thus, he is a political prisoner.
Lateef Mohammad Khan the convenor of the committee says that they have made an appeal to the President of India to intervene in this matter. He may not survive too long due to the various ailments that he suffers from. At least in his last few days he should be allowed to spend time with his family. He has suffered more than what he ought to have and hence this case should be considered on compassionate grounds.
His family members too make a similar plea and say that they should be able to spend time with him. He needs his family very much today and the President should be compassionate while going through this case. He has suffered enough.