I was tried in court but sentenced by politicians: Qayyum Raja

Greater Kashmir

Qayyum Raja - the Kashmiri youth who was tried in the Britain’s open court

Qayyum Raja, the Kashmiri youth who was tried in the Britain’s open court for the alleged charges of murdering Indian diplomat Ravinder Harishva Mhatre in London in 1984. Owing to a dispute between judiciary and the government of United Kingdom, his sentence was kept secret as a result he had to suffer awfully for almost 22 years in successive imprisonment until the European Union court for Human Rights got involved in 2005 and ordered the British authorities to release him instantaneously.
Under solitary confinement, high risk category A, Raja was locked up in Briton’s Winson Green, Frank Land, Long-Hartin, Gartree and Highpoint detention centres for about 22 long years.
 During the course of time, without losing heart and courage, this Kashmiri guy who faced challenges bravely and did not let himself to be a victim of the circumstances rather he continued his studies in prison and did Master’s degree in psychology, diploma in International History and acquired certificate degree in Journalism.
 Born into Rajput family of Khuiratta in Azad Kashmir some 50 years ago, Qayyum Raja received early education from his home town. He left Kashmir in 1979 for Holland wherein his brother Nazir Raja was living for a long time. He was lucky enough to be admitted in various education institutes. He acquired education from various institutions of Europe including the prestigious university of Paris known as Sorvolle University. He got IT diploma and other language courses from other reputed education institutes of Holland.
 Being a teenaged boy, his life in Europe was going all well till he was arrested for allegedly kidnapping and killing Indian diplomat, Ravinder Harishva Mhatre.
 In an exclusive interview with Greater Kashmir’s Nissar Ahmad Thokar, while recalling the tragic moments of his incarceration in UK’s jails, Raja said, “I was tried in open court but sentenced by politicians”. He says he and his accomplices had no intention whatsoever to take a life to save other rather their design was just to pressurize Indian government politically to seek early release of Maqbool Butt, the first Kashmiri who was hanged to death on February 11, 1984 at Tihar Jail in India.

Q Raja what was actually the turning point of your life?
Raja: It was actually the heart-rending plea of the daughter of Maqbool Butt that changed my life altogether. Frankly speaking I was not interested in politics when I flee to Europe. However, hailing from an area that is just a few kilometres away from ceasefire line, I was well aware of the tragedy of Kashmir dispute.
 So for as the turning point of my life is concerned, there was a sudden change when one day I board on a train, I was just going through an Asian newspaper from page to page, I saw there a very innocent face of a small girl namely Lubna Maqbool Butt, the daughter of Maqbool Butt, crying and pleading for what on earth the Kashmiris are doing to save the life of my father awaiting death sentence in Tihar jail.
 The interview of Lubna Butt was done by famous Kashmiri journalist Ali Kiani from Chinari Azad Kashmir currently living in London. So when I read the interview I was deeply moved. I thought to my self that at one hand here is the Kashmiri youth Maqbool Butt who took risk of his life and stood up for the national cause while on the other I being a Kashmiri is not even having an inkling of what is going to happen with his life. I was really ashamed as I had no sufficient information about my own people and my country.
 Basically I was touched by what Lubna Butt had pleaded and cried for. So bearing in mind the said situation I decided to do some thing for Maqbool Butt and his family and therefore I along with my European colleagues went to Human rights organizations.

Q What you initially did there to muster the support of European community and HR organizations?
Raja: You know one thing that I admire very much about Europe is that you have individual freedom although good people respect their parents and elders but they are brought up with an attitude to make their own decisions in their lives, therefore primarily it was not so difficult for me to get their support secondly the Europeans are against the hanging of any individual that is why when I met and discussed the issue with them, they extended full support to me.
 So it became a good campaigning group of educated youngsters, we launched an effective campaign throughout Europe and travelled to almost every member country of the European Union wherein we met Human rights campaigners, lawmakers, and parliamentarians and sought heir help in Maqbool Butt’s release. At one stage Indians complained British police that the group is harassing them, the police asked Indian ambassador what the group has actually done, they said every now and then these students are carrying out protests and writing against us, the police said ok they have done nothing unlawful so we can not take any action.
 Any way we also met the Bishop who enjoys much regard, respect and power in the European community, we knocked the doors of human rights organizations no doubt they supported us right away and flayed the decision of hanging Butt but what actually happened that they could not do enough to pressurize Indian to change its mind vis-à-vis hanging Maqbool Butt.

Q You have been one of the key leaders of the JKLF in Europe, how and when did you join the party?
Raja: It was 1981 when JKLF chief Aman-u-allah Khan who was at that time stationed in UK came to meet me in Germany and extended formal invitation to me to join the party. Khan said to me that he was very happy that we were actually trying to save the life Maqbool Butt but he said to me that it is far better if we joined the JKLF. I too had some sort of apprehensions as what will happen to Kashmir. Basically, bearing in mind the complexities of Kashmir dispute I was of the view that independent Kashmir is the best possible way and an appealing slogan to seek world community’s support to get the nation out of the mess that is why I agreed to join the party and became the founding president of JKLF Germany zone. Then I travelled across the Europe and setup JKLF in France and thereafter most of my activities revolved to mobilize European community to save the life of Maqbool Butt and also to garner support for independence movement of Kashmir.

Q You launched an effective campaign in Europe, how did you manage all this?
Raja: The main reason as why it was easy for me to launch an effective campaign in Europe was that I used to speak native languages fluently, I knew the languages German, Dutch, English and French so wherever I would go I used to speak in their language so being highly involved in the movement I became well known in the political circles and perhaps it was one of the reasons that British police succeeded to locate me easily.

Q Did you ever try to see Maqbool Butt while he was in prison?
Raja: Yes of course I tried a lot but Indian Embassy in every European country denied me to issue visa.

Q What was the purpose of your visit to England, what happened afterwards and how you really planed to kidnap the Indian diplomat?
Raja: Unfortunately one day we heard that India was going to hang the Kashmiri youth. So I decided to go to England, basically I went there to convey my friends that things have reached at a very critical stage but the British police later blamed me that I went there with this intention to conspire the kidnapping of Mr. Mhatre. However, at that very time I was not even knowing that there was any Indian diplomat namely Ravinder Harishva Mhatre.
 Usually I used to travel across the European countries frequently but following the Indian government’s pronouncement of hanging Maqbool Butt, I thought that I must discuss the changing scenario with my friends living in England. There were Christmas holidays in Europe and all the education institutions were closed that is why I left for England on December 26, 1983 and stayed there for some time as my university was going to start in March. So I along with my friends discussed the overall situation and debated threadbare as what steps should be taken to pressurize Indian government.
 After an in-depth debate finally at one stage we came to the conclusion that any Indian diplomat should be arrested. So Mhatre was unlucky to be cut in a way.

Q You were part of that group who actually kidnapped Mhatre?
Raja: No. I was not practically there when some of my colleagues whom I would not name here grabbed Mhatre from his residence. However, I was present in the house, in which Mhatre was brought in later.

Q What actually happened when you grabbed Mhatre and how did you treat him?
Raja: I am going to give you the factual story not what people have heard all about, so on 3rd February 1984 when Mhatre was taken out from his home and brought into a house where I was present. the first thing that I did was to make sure that whether he was not injured or beaten up because as a Muslim I thought it was now my responsibility to make sure he is not hurt. Being a powerless person and now a prisoner I thought it is our moral obligation to treat him in a civilized manner so we arranged food and every thing for him and we even asked him whether he was a vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
 Later I talked to him and asked him whether he had any idea why he was taken from his home and brought here. He replied no, I asked him if he knew any thing about Maqbool Butt. He looked up at me and said yes and enquired me who I am? I said you can guess if we have got something to do with Kashmir and Butt you are clever enough to actually perceive who we are and he said ok.
 I assured him that he should not worry at all; nothing is going to happen with him however I told him as how Indians are treating Kashmiris, what happen to Kashmir, how his country invaded Kashmir. Now India is going to hang our national hero we have to do every thing to save him, I told the diplomat that we took all civilized steps, politically and diplomatically to save Maqbool Butt but you and your government think that we are weak, we are a small state you call us coward people, we are peaceful people but unfortunately your government translate our peaceful attitude as our weakness, as our cowardice, therefore we are very angry and as a lost resort we took this serious step to actually arrest you and we demand the release of Maqbool Butt.
 Mhatre told us that we did not arrest him rather kidnapped him. I replied if you don’t think you have occupied our motherland unlawfully, if you don’t think you have invaded Kashmir we don’t think we have kidnapped you, we have just arrested you.
 Interestingly the same argument was made by the British judge during the hearing asking me not to tell in my court that you have arrested the man, you have actually broken the law of my country, I said well Mr. justice if you know the history you should know that you broke the law of my country a long time ago that is why I am standing before you today.
 Anyways I told Mhatre, let us forget what happened in the past, let us concentrate what we do next, nothing will happen to him, he is absolutely safe here. I told him that I am going to dictate a letter to him and he should write accordingly. So I gave him a pen and paper and I said write to Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to release Maqbool Butt and as soon as they release him we will release you straight away.
 He simply wrote the letter and then we posted the letter and the copies of these letters were later published by British media and we too send our appeal to the press agencies. Within no time the news spread all over the world, the issue got highlighted throughout the world, meanwhile, lots of conversations were going on between politicians, diplomats and the government officials of India and UK.
 Instead of taking us seriously, the governments of both the countries started to threaten us saying that they will teach us lesson, they will kill us etc. but ironically, nobody tried to save the life of Mhatre every one was just playing the tricks. As none of the governments actually made serious efforts; the governments at the helm of affairs were just playing games.
 We were continuously monitoring the activities of all the governments India, UK and Pakistan as well as the Kashmiri community. It was only the Kashmiri people all over the world who were just admiring us. The governments were playing delaying tactics, on the other hand with each passing day, we were getting insecure as the every corner of the British soil was being watched intensely and the British cops were searching us badly but we were lucky that they could not trace us.

Q Who was this guy accompanying you?
Raja: To be honest I have got to save him, I protected him right from the beginning till the end so let us call him as Mr. X.

Q Have you been involved in some sort of negotiations directly or indirectly with any of the government official?
Raja: No. Basically at that very stage I think it was unwise to get involved directly. But through some channels I was passing on information; however this guy about I am talking was just travelling around. Because I was not living in England, he was living there and was well aware of the location. And he (Mr. X) was actually the person who had contacts with some people by whom he was passing on information.

Q Where things started going wrong?
Raja: We had actually decided that we will not release Mhatre for at least two weeks; we agreed that we will see the result and then decided the future course of action.
 Telling the truth it was not our plan to kill an Indian, we were not in fact against any Indian citizen our purpose was to underscore the issue and to highlight the fact that India was going to hang Maqbool Butt against its own constitution. Because, the Indian constitution said that if the government is unable or has not hanged a person who got death sentence within two years then the verdict is no longer valid. But Maqbool Butt was given death sentence in 1966 an now it was 1984. So this act on the part of Indian government actually made us angry that a country claiming to be largest democracy and talking of free judiciary is hoodwinking the world community.
 Anyways coming back the stage where things started going wrong, this guy who was with me he was out and I was with Mhatre, there was another Kashmiri chap Riyaz Malik, he was just 5 years old when he left Kashmir he had no idea of Kashmir except that Kashmiris are being mistreated you can just guess how patriotic he was.
 As I said the guy who shot Mhatre and me had decided that we will keep Mhatre in custody for two weeks because our main purpose was to go as for as possible to pressurize India to give some concessions to Maqbool Butt however, our first preference was to force India to release him. I again asked him what happened about negotiations, are the negotiations getting anywhere? He replied no. so it was quite astonishing for me that whatever it was going on was happening against my own wishes but the situation had reached to such a stage where I was not in a position to confront with my own colleagues.

Q Had the leadership of JKLF any idea as how to deal the issue and was the JKLF chairman aware of the issue?
Raja: Mr. X who in fact shot Mhatre, later said to me that he told Ammanullah Khan that we kidnapped an Indian diplomat. Honestly speaking when I joined JKLF, I sincerely worked with Khan but at some stage I realized that ok he is good at writing but he has not got any clear concept of armed struggle. No doubt he used to talk about revolutionary people like Yaseer Arafat and other people but he had no experience whatsoever, he used to talk about political, diplomatic and armed struggle, but he has not any idea of the armed struggle.
 At one stage we young people decided that A Khan is the eldest person in our party and we got to admit and respect him and agreed that let him continue on political front although we too were politically involved but whenever we have had to make any hard decision there is no need to involve him.
 You know, when he heard that we had already an Indian diplomat in our custody, he was both shocked and at the same time surprised to know all this and he became very happy. But the first thing that he did not know as how to take advantage of the situation and had no idea as how to actually exploit it and this was in fact his weakest point as the leader of the party.
 So we together decided that we will not tell Khan about this development but unfortunately this friend of mine made a mistake and he conveyed to the JKLF chief. He later admitted the mistake but it was too late.
 The first thing the JKLF Chairman did was he picked up his telephone and rang Indian embassy and said to them ok we have got your diplomat I have access to those people who kidnapped Mhatre, if you want to save Mhatre then you should contact me. He also contacted British Police, they are well experienced and they just thought any sensible person who is involved would never contact police, they said him ok let us do our work.
 So the British police went to Khan’s residence wherein they saw Hashim Qureshi and the police arrested both of them. During the investigations, the police found some papers regarding me at Khan’s residence and gathered some sort of other information as well. And after their arrest it was first time that my picture appeared on the television screen with a caption, “Qayyum Raja Wanted”.
 But the complaint I made about Amanullah Khan was as why he got involved and why he put such a dreadful situation in front of my friend Mr. X that he got convinced to end life of Mhatre.
 Mr. X, admitted the fact that Khan actually put a situation in front of him, which was so dangerous that he did not have any other choice but to kill the Indian diplomat and leave the country. And I said to him it was you and me to decide what to be done next, you actually conspired with khan.
 So one day, this guy Mr. X who actually killed Mhatre came to me and said we are going to shift Mhatre to some other place, I told him that things are not now going the way as we had decided. I again asked him what happened about negotiations, are the negotiations getting anywhere? He replied no. As I said had decided to keep Mhatre in custody for two weeks because our main purpose was to go as for as possible to pressurize India to give some concessions to Maqbool Butt however, our first preference was to force India to release him.
 I asked him look what is going to happen Mhatre, he replied well I can not just discuss the issue at the moment because there is police everywhere and we will have to change the place.
 When we took Mhatre out of the House, obviously things were going now against my wishes, but it was not wise for me to fight against the rest of the guys who were actually going to shift Mr. Mhatre to some other unknown destination and to do what ever they have decided. Right at the same time Mr. Khan and Qureshi were under police custody. So when they took Mhatre out of the house and placed in a car and started to proceed towards country-side, after travelling down the country side approximately 40 miles away from the location where he was kept prisoner.
 It was dark outside, when they just took him out of the car. We walked along the link road, the subway. Mr. X asked Mhatre to sit down, in the meantime I think Mhatre saw the gun Mr. X was carrying with him as Mr. X took the gun out, Mhatre instantly jumped up and grabbed the gun. Now it was a stage where he could have killed both of us and obviously I just could not standby, I jumped and snatched the gun from Mhatre. And Mr. X then took the gun from me and shot him twice.
 It was actually 5th of February 1984, when Mhatre was killed; later we had some angry exchanges I told Mr. X that it should not have ended like this. As the incident took place Mr. X who shot Mhatre asked me what I should do with this gun now. Anyways after that we separated and left the scene.

Q When you were arrested and what happened after the unfortunate incident took place?
Raja: We were four guys, after some days the rest of two guys left the country but I was unfortunately arrested by British Police 3 weeks latter on 22, Feb 1984, at Fairy Port (sea port) called Holyhead between England and Ireland.
 Basically there is no immigration at Holyhead but police was there waiting for me, they arrested me and interrogated there, they put me in a very cold cell for 24 hours without any food and water. Next day a special team of experts came from England to probe me; they asked me what I know about Mhatre. I said not too much, they said you are a literate Kashmiri, this is the biggest ever incident that took place in UK, you say you know a little about it. Any ways there was not much I could hide and there was no point for me to keep silence but to save my other friends. And throughout I said whatever I did and about my personal involvement but did not tell them about my other friends.
 Later on, when I appeared in the court, when judge gave his verdict he said Raja you did not say anything about your friends it means that if you are protecting your colleagues you will be protecting yourself as well. This is what basically went against me, all the pressure was on me because police believed that I knew every thing and I must confess and give them information about other guys. But I thought I am in trouble but I must save my friends. I am still proud that I saved my friends.

Q Did JKLF leadership helped you guys or pursued your case?
Raja: No, not at all, they kept mum. However, I am thankful to British media, the Kashmiri community and the peace loving people of the European community who supported me all the way through.

Q What actually were the charges labelled to you?
Raja: They charged me for conspiring to kidnapping Indian diplomat, kidnapping him, holding him prisoner and killing him but they charged me after six months. The UK government asked the Pakistani government that Mr. X with his fellow flew to Pakistan but Pakistani government told them that they can not fined them. But my lawyer told me some sort of negotiations is going on between British and Pakistan government, according to my lawyer Pakistani government had demanded the Britain to handover the self-exiled Peoples Party leader and former governor of Punjab Mustafa Khar in exchange of Mr. X and his accomplice. The demand was not entertained saying that Khar was a declared refugee that is why they can not hand him over to Pakistan so the negotiations between the two governments just ended up with no result.
 So that is what happened and when the British police thought they can not get the guy who killed Mhatre they just charged me and another guy Riaz Malik. Although I did not admit, they forced me to admit I said ok I kept Mhatre in custody bud did not kill him. That is the stand that I took right from the beginning till the last day and they forced me throughout at every single stage they forced me to admit even at the end when I was being freed they asked me now you are now free just admit you have killed him, I said no, I do I?

Q The way you have been tried, what is your opinion regarding the judicial system of UK?
Raja: It was 16 January 1985, when court started trial and gave the verdict on 7-2-1985 but as a matter of the fact we were tried by British court but sentenced by the politicians. The British court was unable to declare our sentences, owing to political pressure the government of British was facing from the government of India. They tried us in the court but we were sentenced by politicians I wrote and made it public and luckily it was carried as a headline by the British papers “Trialed by court and sentenced by politicians”. So when politically and publicly people started to think, they did not declare the sentence, they kept it secret, they refused to tell us and we were kept in total darkness and were not told as how long we will serve in the prison.
 Fist thing that British did wrong is that they actually did not allow me to have a solicitor of my own choice, so at one stage I started to representing my self, I used to talk more about Kashmir than my own case, then they said give him a lawyer. While pleading my case the prosecutor told them one thing that these guys were not ordinary people, they are representing Kashmir now.
 A legal team of Indian experts was also continuously watching the proceedings. The judge who was awarded knighthood told me that he will send me to the prison but the home secretary will inform him how long I will serve, so I thought they did not proved the allegations levelled against us and may be our case might be dealt politically. However, time and again I used to ask the British home secretary to declare my sentence, but my pleas went unheard for a pretty long-time.
 Ironically the concerned authorities were in fact giving the notion that nothing could happen because we killed Mhatre and the only thing was to wait for the mercy of the British government, secondly I was not able to meet people as I was kept under high risk category ‘A’ prisoner for 13 years, even I was not even allowed to have a legal representative so when I actually started myself writing to the Interior Minister to declare our sentence as how long I should serve in the prison and finally the court asked me to send a summary of your case and they will submit it to the practising Barrister if he finds any legal weight what ever I write they will reconsider your case. And thanks to almighty the Barrister whom they submitted my summary said it has legal weight and the case was reopened after 10 years. Let me clear it that for almost 10 years judiciary was kept away from the case and it was the Home Ministry dealing the case directly.
 I pleaded in the court to order the Home Secretary to declare as how long I will serve. As I said that I started writing and made it public that we were trialled by court but sentenced by politicians. This was lauded by the British media you know the media being a radical one highlighted the issue and fortunately things started getting in my favour. The common masse in Britain particularly the media played an important role in putting my case in limelight.
 So when the high court ruled that our case will be reopened then I and my other colleague Riyaz Malik were given life sentence, which is not a fixed term, it is in fact the discretion of judge to announce the imprisonment period keeping in view the nature of the case. However, during the proceedings the Judge declared 15 years of imprisonment and 10 years to Malik, but British Home Secretary rejected the verdict of court and said Mr. Raja will serve 25 years and Malik 20 years in the prison and later the government will decide their fate accordingly.
 Later we challenged in the court that all the decisions were made in secret, we were not given any right to defend ourselves and this was against the natural justice. So we won the case again and the British HC actually dismissed the decision of the Home Secretary. But at that stage the law only allowed the court to say whether the HS acted legally or illegally. The HS was morally bound to bound to follow the court’s verdict and to release us without any delay but what actually happened, the HS kept our file in his custody and started making excuses and it took two years.
 Anyways we realised that even after the British Court’s verdict in favour of us authorities were not ready to release us that is why we decided to involve the European Union court for Human Rights and we said whatever the decision court gives we will accept and whatever the decision is taken by the UK government we will not accept. Finally in December 1994 the British High Court gave the verdict wherein the judge maintained that the interior ministry had acted unlawfully.

Q What happened in the end?
Raja: At the end when European Court for Human Rights got involved in August 2004, the EU court in its ruling told the British government to change its law. So the European court of HR played a great role and it actually forced the British government to change the whole law thereby relinquishing power from home secretary. In Brittan it was not easy to change law it is the only parliament that has the authority to make any amendment so the parliament was directed to make the necessary modification vis-à-vis our case. But it took one year to change the law and after one year we won the case and finally I was released in 2005 after spending over 21 years of imprisonment in various detention centres of Britain.
 Then again the British Judge had to actually give a decision about my release; there was a panel of people in the court comprising the government officials, members from the ministry and members from other institutions, they wanted to ask me some questions. I must say that at that very stage British judiciary realised that I have been mistreated badly for a long time. That is why the judge said, “Hold on; I don’t allow any body to ask questions to Mr. Raja, he has suffered long enough, throughout his imprisonment he has acted civilized and no body is going to ask any questions”.
 “I am sorry you suffered for a long time”, the judge said. Then I pleaded him that I want to just to leave this country and go back to my country. He said ok you are now free and I wish you all the best.
 On 17th of May 2005, I was released from the jail and later the security personnel put me in a car and drove to Airport directly when they put me in the plane; I saw British security dressed in civilian clothes were accompanying me who travelled with me to Islamabad.
 The next day when we arrived Islamabad Airport, the first thing I wanted to do was just to stand-up and see up in the sky. So I briefly looked up, a person standing by me said, “people are waiting for you downstairs”. I went down there was a man whom I did not know, embraced me and welcomed me to Pakistan”.
 He took me to the VIP lounge after some paper work a Pakistani official came to me and said that due to some security concerns they will not allow me to go on my own so they will escort me to my home town. So they put me in a car I was astonished to see that none of my relative was allowed to come to receive me, however, when I entered into Azad Kashmir, there were people in large numbers waiting for me near Hollar. They took me in a procession to Khoierata my home town.
 It were really the unforgettable moments of life that I was back to my home land after going through torments and tribulations.

Q What unprecedented thing happened in UK?
Raja: In European media as well as in the EU parliament it was discussed as how some body coming from Kashmir going to prison challenged the British government to change the law. This was basically unprecedented and this became a very interesting story in the British media.

Q Why did you opt to return back to home country?
Raja: Although I was offered to stay there, some people and some university officials came to see me in prison and said you have got a good qualification and we will offer you a job here but I said no. Actually I wanted to do some work for the freedom of Kashmir.
You have suffered because of the unresolved Kashmir dispute; do you think that Kashmiri leadership on both sides of ceasefire line is effectively pleading their case?
 I suffered all this and my colleagues suffered and as a nation suffered terribly and still suffering, because of the ongoing situation in Kashmir. I am not really happy the way leadership of Kashmir on both sides of line of control is handling Kashmir issue. I think we need rethinking the leaders need to be sincere to themselves and the people. People are not going to regard them as well and if they want to be remembered positively in the history of Kashmir they have to sit and devise and effective policy vis-à-vis the resolution of Kashmir dispute. So I want the leadership to behave sensibly so as to get the nation out of the chaos and confusion.

Q Any message for the governments of India, Pakistan or the people of Kashmir?
Raja: For the respective governments of India and Pakistan, I appeal them to adopt a pragmatic and realistic approach and let the people of state to honourably choose their political destiny. My message to the people of Kashmir, is that at present they are going through misery, but in history they will be remembered like people who are brave, courageous and honourable, the people are those who stand for their beliefs, stand up for their rights and dignity. And those who do not stand up for their right are not remembered in the history. I believe the Kashmiri people have offered unprecedented sacrifices and a day will come when they will be rewarded. My appeal to the valiant brothers and sisters is to strive for their dignity and Allah will reward them soon.

Q Do you have any regrets?
Raja: No, Kashmiri people in general have suffered more than what I have gone through; I stood for my belief and I have no regrets whatsoever. Basically like other fellow Kashmiris I am peaceful by nature, but this is altogether a different story that I got involved in the case, as a matter of the fact we were not against Indians, our intention was very much clear, we actually wanted to have some bargaining on political front.
 The question is why we arrested an Indian diplomat, our sole purpose behind all this was to save a life but not at the cost of other’s life. What happened in the end was unfortunate and against my own wishes.