Stings are a cost we pay for our conviction

  • Publish Date: Jun 3 2017 2:12AM
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  • Updated Date: Jun 3 2017 2:12AM
Stings are a cost we pay for our conviction

My simple question to my people is this: Should we let biased Indian media decide the fate of a leader here?


Let me first tell you something about myself, the person whose reputation a biased Indian channel tried to besmirch to project a  false image of Kashmir’s struggle for Azadi.

 The target of the attack was someone whose immediate and extended family has been suffering at the hands of Indian authorities since 1947. They attacked a son whose father, late Ghulam Mohammad Khan, was tortured and jailed for seeking the rights of his people. And when Shaheed Maqbool Bhat came to Kashmir from Azad Kashmir, it was my father who supported and guided him. The biased Indian media victimized a son whose aged mother was arrested in 1991 by CRPF camp Barzulla and detained her at a camp for fourteen days. They attacked a brother whose younger sibling Gull Mohammad Khan was killed in 1997. They attacked a nephew whose uncle Tariq Ahmad Lone was subjected to enforced disappearance in early 90s, and whose other uncle and aunt were killed in cold-blood.

They assaulted Nayeem Khan, one of the loyal servants of the Kashmir cause. It was a conspiracy to tarnish the image and role of a person who has an unblemished record. Who has played a vital role in organizing student movement in mid eighties and in the formation of Muslim United Front and All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

Delhi is using its media to suppress a born revolutionary like they used its judiciary to hang Afzal Guru.

It was to explain the same thing that I held a presser in Srinagar on May 20. I explained  how Delhi and its dubious media are desperate to show our struggle for rights to self determination in a poor light. But they have never succeeded in their Machiavellian ploys in past, and never will.

For someone who has been engaging with Indian State in Kashmir through seminars, debates and peaceful rallies since 1980, these shameful stings are but the costs we pay for our conviction. Having been tortured, sent to dark dungeons and booked under draconian ordinances, I have already seen their worst.

I meet hundreds of people every day from J&K and from India including my party workers. You can hardly know who is who and what are their motivations and designs.  I have always candidly talked about issues about Kashmir, India and Pakistan. But it was  a shock to me when I found that this scattered  conversation was  so deftly put together and doctored and used against me. I was shocked to see the doctored footage being aired by a particular news channel—behaving like an arm of intelligence agencies—as an exclusive sting operation. Even voice and lip syncing was out of place. Even a commoner having no knowledge of video editing can spot the glaring alteration. By running the video in bits and pieces, the so called ‘sting operation’ presented everything out of context. It was clearly aimed to defame our struggle.

Such videos however are no surprise to us. If they can run similar doctored videos to malign their own dissenting students of JNU, then we are clearly marked rivals in their definition of things.

Indian national corporate media is involved in falsifying and distorting Kashmir narrative to suit its role as an extended arm of the state. This role makes it complicit in carnage in Kashmir and in the  denial of rights of the people’s rights. The theatrical rhetoric is well known to us. It is devoid of  any  substance. It leaves no stone unturned to malign, bully and intimidate Kashmiris. The latest doctored video falls in this category. It is part of a declared war on Kashmir.

A movement against a huge oppressor needs funds to sustain and continue the struggle and not to make mansions. In Kashmir, there is a sanctity to Pakistani funds and not the Indian funds. We are helped by local and expatriate Kashmiris. That’s why we have built Bait-ul-maals besides getting support from our diaspora. Pakistan supports us politically and diplomatically.

I challenge Indian biased media and its agencies to prove that I have assets beyond my limited means of income. Or I created assets out of the sacred blood of our martyrs. 

For someone who quit an engineering job for the movement, these things don’t matter. Such smear campaigns in fact are in a way an endorsement of our cause. It tells us that the enemy and its allies will never shy away from intruding in our ranks to expose only their desperation. It tells us that we are on the right track.

After knowing and facing Indian State all these years, falling in their trap was out of question. The way they are telling this whole story is but a media-peddled lie, reinforcing a regime of Hindutva narrative about Kashmir. They mainly played it up to emphasise how Pakistan is funding our struggle.

Let me tell you, when I returned to Kashmir from Madhya Pradesh Jail in 1993, I witnessed how Indian forces had committed several massacres and burnt property worth billions of rupees. Such circumstances made me join the Hurriyat Conference after my release from the jail. I pledged to strengthen the resistance movement, which I believe is the only effective way to achieve freedom.

But Delhi always continued to pursue its vile agenda. After failing to contain Kashmir through its military arm, it is now using its media to suppress our voices. It is bound to backfire akin to the military occupation.

As for me, I have been facing the Indian state for the past 35 years. Now facing NIA sleuths who are in the town to probe is only continuation of it. I am open to any investigation, provided it is open and transparent. Rest we all know, how Indian agencies function in Kashmir.

I am accountable to my people, not to biased Indian media and India. I challenge Press Council of India to get these so called sting videos in their unedited form and play them in Lal Chowk. Let people judge themselves who is telling the truth and who is plying a dire and dubious  agenda.

I will continue to say I am a victim of aggressive and concocted Indian media trial. But having said that, unfortunately I am also the victim of selective, biased, authoritarian approach at home. We should learn team spirit from the enemy who stood behind their soldier who took a Kashmiri as a human shield in defiance of all the international and Indian laws. 

Today I miss the great and courageous leader of APHC Shaheed Abdul Gani Lone who always stood by his colleagues and workers. I have chosen the path of my father consciously and the other unsung leaders who have been the silent soldiers of this blood soaked movement. I don’t believe in mere publicity or self praise which is short-lived. I don’t believe in creating narratives for self-praise. This  way we bury the big achievements made possible by a collective effort.

My unflinching ideology, sacrifice, contribution and faith in Allah and in my people are my strengths. Nayeem Khan is not a media tiger. I know my people have and will always trust me. Indian channel’s vicious and motivated campaign hasn’t impressed them. And on my part, I promise I will never let my people down, nor betray their faith in me.

I believe in the truthfulness and ideological conviction.  There should be no competition among the leaders. I have never seen myself in the competition for leadership.

Neither I nor my family has ever taken any favour or concession from either India or from the state government. I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.  I am not a leader of controversies.

I believe in promoting message, not the messenger because the message is the only thing which is important. 

I stand strong on my moral strength. Let suppressed people of Kashmir dig deep into the history and decide themselves. I throw my role in this blood-soaked movement, my belongings and my property open to public scrutiny. My simple question to my people is this: Should we let biased Indian media decide the fate of a leader here. 

I also believe APHC should be open to suggestions and interact with student community, academia and intelligentsia. Just playing to the gallery will take us nowhere. 

I believe in transparency and accountability. Movement is sacred, not the personal likes and dislikes. Even Britishers used media to defame genuine leaders of Indian freedom struggle. Same is being repeated by India in Kashmir.

India is trying to create confusion, mistrust among our people and the leadership. But I believe in unified leadership and cohesive approach. Ownership of the struggle lies with the people.

Our cause is noble. Resistance is sacred. And I will never betray either of them. Our leadership should not become a compulsion for its practitioners but our strength. It should guide us not follow.  

As for my role in the movement is concerned, it is no secret. Let people decide who is right and who is wrong. 


As told to Bilal Handoo