Srinagar: Syed Maqbool Shah spent 14 years in jail before he was acquitted and released two years back in the 1996 Lajpat Nagar blast case. But a normal life still eludes the 36-year-old who now says he's done fighting. After failing to get a job and get back to normal life, he says life outside prison has been more cruel than inside. "I am neither a stone nor a tree. I feel that I am still behind bars," said Shah.
Shah was arrested in 1996 and was first of many accused to be set free in April 2010. Two Kashmiri men were recently acquitted in the same case. But Shah says he won't be surprised if they too get nothing from the Centre or state governments for the years lost. "They still haven't given me my passport. It has been nearly two years. I wanted to work outside but wasn't allowed to do so," added the 36-year-old.
While in detention, Shah lost his father and younger sister to serious ailments and the family business suffered badly too. For the last two years, Shah has been trying to get the President and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's attention for help but to no avail.
When he reached home on being set free he was feted and hugged by relatives and friends. But two years later, he has come to realise that he has become a burden for the family and is unable to break the shackles.