I was carrying a national flag which I gave to the 11-year-old daughter of the martyred Constable in North Kashmir’s Kupwara a couple of days back. While I gave the flag to her, she asked me how many colours are there in the national flag. I responded by saying that there are three colours. She said no, there are four colours. I said, how? She went to another room and got a photograph of her late father, who was wrapped in Tiranga after being killed by Pakistani-sponsored terrorists. She said that the fourth colour is the blood of my father, which has been soaked by the flag.”
On this day, let’s take a moment and realise the truth in the 11-year-old’s words and remember the people we lost over the years; the martyrs that took up a cause and, in death, became the cause.
As we commemorate our 76th anniversary of Independence, it is crucial to honour the contributions and sacrifices made by the people of Jammu and Kashmir who have preserved India’s integrity. Jammu & Kashmir has given birth to tens of thousands of warriors who gave their lives in defence of their country while upholding its peace and honour.
According to many historians, the result of the 1947 war would have been substantially different had Srinagar been taken by the tribal invaders. Maqbool Sherwani, a 19-year-old political activist from Baramulla who worked for the National Conference party, gave his life so that the security forces would have ample time to stop the invaders. Numerous civilians were massacred, women were raped, and hospitals were demolished. The movie, based on Shahid Maqbool Sherwani, is a credible depiction of the population defending itself against the invaders.
Another person worth remembering, who was gunned down by terrorists in February 1990, is Lassa Kaul, the late Doordarshan Director. On May 21, 1990, the same Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists assassinated Mohammad Farooq Shah, the Mirwaiz of Kashmir and Chairman of the All Jammu and Kashmir Awami Action Committee, at his home in Nageen, Srinagar. The late Mirwaiz was assassinated because he had a vision for Kashmir that was very different from Pakistan’s. His reasoned discourse was what Kashmir needed in the early stages of terrorism to oppose violence and advocate for an evolved Kashmir that Pakistan wishes to eradicate forever. The assassination of Mirwaiz by the terrorists bears witness that, rather than caring about the well-being of Kashmiris, what Pakistan only ever wanted was to make sure that people adhere to their decree of “Kashmir banega Pakistan.”
Farooq Ahmed Dar, also referred to as Bitta Karate, was one of the most ruthless regulators of Pakistan’s diktat. He was the leader of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), the group responsible for the deliberate massacres of Kashmiri Pandits. When the genocide was carried out in 1990, Bitta Karate said in an interview in 1991 that he had killed “more than 20” Kashmiri Pandits or “perhaps more than 30-40,” as if those were just numbers.
Such was the fear of Pakistan that Mirwaiz Molvi Umar Farooq, the son of Molvi Mohammad Farooq Shah has never claimed that his father died at the hands of the Pakistani-sponsored terrorists. Terrorists worked together in Kashmir with separatists and some mainstream politicians for their political objectives and vote banks. For instance, former MLA Gul Rafiqi, of J&K National Conference facilitated a Divisional Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Mohammad Amin Baba escape from the valley by taking him to Amritsar in his official vehicle. Baba also managed to get a passport on fictitious Srinagar address and escorted the terrorist to Wagah Border from where he crossed the border and entered Pakistan.
It however is noteworthy that with many people participating in the celebrations to honour the 76th anniversary of India’s independence, the “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign run by Azadi ka Amrit Mohatsav has been a major success in Jammu and Kashmir. The fact that Pakistani-backed secessionists have ruled Kashmir and their ideology for so long is the reason why Tiranga could not be found anywhere in Kashmir. The secessionist and terrorist ecosystem that had been holding common Kashmiris hostage for long has been obliterated by the current LG Manoj Sinha led administration and security agencies.
On this day, let’s take a moment and realize the truth in the 11-year-old’s words and remember the people we lost over the years; the martyrs that took up a cause and, in death, became the cause. On this Independence Day , let us think of them in gratitude for their commitment to upholding the spirit of peace and brotherhood and encourage the J&K government to build a memorial to remember these martyrs who lost their lives for a good cause.
(Emaad Makhdoomi is the Consulting Editor of Greater Kashmir)