Kuka Parrey, Member Legislative Assembly and Chairman, Jammu Kashmir Awami League :
Going down the memory lane, I see the dark days of late 1989 vividly in front of my eyes. These were the days when Pakistan had unleashed a venomous drive in the name of Islam to prepare the youth of Kashmir for a final assault on the 'Infidel India'. Their target was the young Kashmiri Muslim youth, mostly from the rural background and preferably with no educational background. Audio cassettes made in Pakistan were blaring from the captive mosques urging all the faithful to join Jihad against India. Incidentally JIHAD is a holy war and every Muslim is ordained to take part in it as a sacred duty. The ISI trained Pakistanis, trained in sabotage, roamed the rural areas with impunity and posing as religious preachers swayed the youth against India with their skilful oratory. Such was the impact of their fundamentalist preaching that there literally was a rat race among the youth of impressionable age in crossing over to the other side for getting training in handling the dreaded terrorist weapons like Kalashnikovs and its advanced versions. The boys in teens were lured to cross over to POK with promises of returning to a liberated Kashmir where `Nizam-i-Mustafa' would have been established by then. The boys were indoctrinated there, in well organized camps run by serving Pakistani army officers and mullahs.
At certain times our boys were introduced to some western dignitaries who too gave pep talks at these camps. The gentlemen introduced as U.S. citizens assured our boys that the mighty United States the only super power, was behind us in our 'Jihad' against India. Those who could not manage to go across to POK due to vagaries of weather or strict vigil at the borders, were imparted training locally and we had new additions in our lexicon: PTM and LTM, the former meaning a Pakistani trained militant and the latter being the short form for a Local trained militant. Catchy slogans coined in Pakistan were popularized through the mosques and other religious places. The slogans doing rounds those days were; HUM KYA CHAHTE AZADI, AZADI KA MATLAB KYA LA ILLAH A ILLA ALLAH, Pakistan SE RISHTA KYA LA ILLAH A ILLA ALLAH, NIZAM-I-MUSTAFA ETC. ETC.
Every wall was plastered with such slogans and graffiti like Republic of Islamic Jamharya Kashmir was there on every available space for all to see. There was hardly anyone who could afford not to join this 'mainstream' and subject himself to the wrath of these fundamentalist mullahs. In those days the atmosphere was such that you did not need anybody's permission to either cross over to POK for training or join a local training camp. The boys were just like automated robots obeying the orders of their instructors without any questions being asked. The greatest motivation was that our place in the heavens was assured either way ; if we defeat the infidel India in this crusade and survive we become Heroes and if we die while fighting we are the Martyrs. That is how I too became an LTM.
Initial Actions of the Militants
Although our slogan was FREEDOM, the first casualty in our crusade was Freedom itself. Every kind of freedom - of expression, of speech, to pursue ones faith, and profession, of education, and last of all the freedom to life and property - all such freedoms guaranteed under Indian constitution and enjoyed by us in plenty till that time, were snatched away. The first human casualty was one Mohd. Yousuf Halwai a shopkeeper in downtown Srinagar who was shot dead in cold blood in Aug 89 - his crime, he was a junior office bearer of National Conference. Selective killings of Kashmiri Pandits started soon - their fault, they were not following the same faith, resulting in the mass exodus of this minuscule minority with whom the majority community had been living in peace and harmony for over five hundred years. As if it was not enough the spate of killings continued unabated. Top intellectuals and greatest Kashmiris - scholars, historians, religious preachers, professionals, legislators - all were butchered ruthlessly. Any nation, any community would have been proud to preserve such eminent sons of the soil at a safer place lest a stray bullet should hit them, but not these perpetrators of human misery.
To give only a few names of the greatest sons of Kashmir who fell to the bullets, of the ruthless killers whose only aim was to sully the fair name of Kashmir, are:-
MAULANA FAROOQ MIRWAIZ OF KASHMIR, QAZI NISSAR MIRWAIZ OF SOUTH KASHMIR MAULANA SYED MASOODI OCTOGENARIAN FOUNDER OF KASHMIRIS STRUGGLE AGAINST THE AUTOCRATIC RULE OF THE MAHARAJA IN 1931, DR ABDUL AHAD GURU A WORLD RENOWNED CARDIO THORACIC SURGEON, PROF. MASHIR-UL-HAQ RENOWNED SCHOLAR AND VICE CHANCELLOR OF KASHMIR UIVERSITY, MR. KHERA TECHNOCRAT AND GENERAL MANAGER OF H.M.T. SGR., LASSA KOUL DIRECTOR DOORDARSHAN(T.V.) SRINAGAR, M/S HANDOO AND SYED GHULAM NABI JOINT DIRECTORS OF STATE INFORMATION DEPTT., MOHD. SHABAN VAKIL EDITOR'S DAILY AL SAFA A LOCAL URDU PAPER, MIR MUSTAFA, SHEIKH JABAR YATTOO, G.Q. NELOORA AND TEN OTHERS ALL LEGISLATORS H.N. WANCHOO A TRADE UNIONIST AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, WHO DID NOT MIGRATE ONLY TO PLEAD THE CAUSE OF THE DOWNTRODDEN AND THE POOREST SECTION OF THE MAJORITY COMMUNITY.
They did not even spare foreign tourists, four of them are still missing, while the head of the fifth was severed from his body.
These are just a few instances, otherwise the list of innocent people killed runs into hundreds and each case is well documented and circulated in various international fora. The gruesome methods adopted to kill are barbaric and nauseating; asphyxiation, strangulation, sawing into two on a band saw, hanging the body with dynamite and then blowing the young man wrapped in explosives to smithereens by just pressing the remote control. Respectable and noble gentlemen of the society had to buy peace by paying huge ransoms and wearing dunce caps in public besides making confessional statements about their allegiance to a particular militant outfit through paid advertisements in local newspapers.
Schools and colleges were torched, bridges blasted, residential houses blown, even the Industrial Training Institutes meant for training the less fortunate and less educated in various crafts were not spared. All the developmental activities came to a grinding halt. Rape, extortion and kidnapping became the order of the day. Kashmir was suddenly thrown back to medieval era when only the fanatics ruled the roost and others only had a right to live like dump driven cattle. The residential houses of the minority community were first looted and then torched. `Not even an electric bulb was spared' as quoted by a famous missionary who was an eye witness to loot and plunder by Pakistani raiders of Saint Joseph Hospital in Baramulla in 1947, the same saga of loot and plunder was repeated by these 'crusaders' and `freedom fighters'. It just needed a little common sense to understand the game plan of ISI and Pakistan. They wanted to destroy the traditional brotherhood, rich Sufi-Rishi culture, a civilization dating back to 5000 years and present a Kashmiri Muslim as a fanatic (something like Taliban) to the world, hence not happy with secular India. I understood this in time and trained my gun against these terrorists, who at the behest of their masters across had nearly succeeded in achieving their nefarious designs. Masses joined me in hundreds and thousands and within days we could defeat such elements and deal a crushing blow to these subversive bigots.
It was necessary to once again usher in democracy in this beleaguered State. I accepted the challenge of Pakistan and their henchmen - the leaders of the so called All Parties Hurriyat Conference - that Parliamentary elections SHALL be held in our State simultaneously with the rest of the country. This in-spite of the fact that the major political party of the state-the National Conference had decided not to participate in these elections for fear of reprisals. Their leaders had run away from the valley to save their skins and were not convinced that conditions were conducive for their safe return, and participation in the Lok-Sabha polls. It was at this stage that I along with my friends floated a political party; JAMMU KASHMIR AWAMI LEAGUE, and decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls. The aim of forming this party at that time was two fold: one, to instil confidence in other mainstream and nationalist parties to follow suit and ,two, to defeat Pakistan and its cohorts politically too.
I succeeded in achieving this aim as was evident from the successful conduct of the Lok Sabha polls. But that was only a beginning, the ultimate goal was restoration of the state legislative assembly. I had to personally go to Delhi and persuade Dr. Farooq Abdullah to come over and fight the assembly polls. I convinced him that my boys had done a commendable job and his or his party's security could not be a major problem. The conduct of successful and by and large a peaceful assembly election bears testimony to the inherent faith of a Kashmiri in democracy and liberty. It was yet another and a final blow to the Pakistani sponsored destabilisation process. In fact this time the leaders of the so called Hurriyat Conference toured length and breadth of the valley imploring and begging people to boycott the polls. The people rejected them and the results are in front of us. We have an elected bi-cameral legislature, a democratically elected government and have nearly succeeded in wiping out the remnants of militancy. You can see thousands of people visiting the secretariat, the government departments from divisional to block levels and seeking redressal of grievances. The democracy has once again taken firm roots in the State.
Having been defeated fairly and squarely in militancy and politics the secessionists and separatists are left with only one theme song-`the violation of human rights'. Is it morally correct for a ruthless killer of five Indian Air Force personnel ( waiting at a bus stop to take a bus to their place of work, and all that they carried with them was a tiffin each) to go on a hunger strike in the capital of the same country against which he waged a war. But then in India we have sympathizers for such enemies of the State and humanity in abundance and we saw the demonstration of one well known journalist posing as a humane rights activist offering a glass of fruit juice to this ruthless killer. These pathological India baiters are as much to blame for the ills of Kashmiris as the secessionists and anti Indian elements headed by the so called APHC. How can one forget the crimes committed by these fanatics against humanity and Kashmiriat. I would only request your good selves to prevail upon the Govt. of India to behave like any sovereign State and institute a special tribunal to speedily try these elements for waging war against the state and committing heinous crimes against fellow Kashmiris - crimes attracting death penalty under the criminal law.
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