Mirwaiz Mohammad Moulvi Farooq Assassination: A Final Closure – OpEd


On May 21, 1990, five men posing as fund seekers representing the newly formed Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) terror group gained an easy entry into Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq’s house in the Nageen area of Srinagar. Once inside, these hard core HM terrorists opened indiscriminate fire on the unsuspecting Mirwaiz, and after killing him on the spot, made good their escape.

With the perpetrators of this grizzly crime successfully fleeing the scene, law enforcement agencies were unable to establish their identity, and since no one took responsibility for this killing, it became very difficult for the police and intelligence agencies to discern the exact motive for this senseless cold-blooded murder.

Since Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq was the chairman of All Jammu and Kashmir Awami Action Committee, an amalgam of political parties seeking resolution of the Kashmir issue, the pro-Pakistan lobby promptly blamed the security forces and intelligence agencies for this gruesome murder, and the indoctrinated public quickly lapped up this humongous lie.

The truth however is that even though Mirwaiz endorsed the self-determination campaign, being a preacher, he was totally against the use of violence and being a true nationalist, he was also averse to the idea of allowing Pakistan to take control of this movement. Being widely respected and extremely popular in Kashmir Valley, the ISI thus saw him as a serious threat to the proxy war that it has just started in Kashmir through the HM.

So, the then Kashmir based HM commander Abdullah Bangroo was ordered by his ISI handlers to eliminate Mirwaiz. Bangroo willingly agreed and selected four other HM militants (Javed Ahmed Bhat, Mohammad Ayub Dar, Zahoor Ahmad Bhat and Abdul Rehman Shigan) to assist him in killing Mirwaiz who besides being a learned preacher and respected politician, sincerely worked for the betterment of Kashmiris irrespective of the faith or religion they belonged to.

While Bangroo and Shigan were subsequently killed in encounters with security forces, Ayub Dar was apprehended and after being convicted for his role in the murder of Mirwaiz, is currently serving out a life time in jail. However, the remaining two assassins [Javid Bhat and Zahoor Bhat] went underground, and thanks to HM’s active support and financial largesse, were able to elude arrest for 33 years by frequently changing their bases in Pakistan and Nepal.

With Javid and Zahoor remaining untraceable for more than three decades, it appeared that these two assassins had vanished into thin air, and people had largely given up hopes that they would be arrested and brought to book. Presumably, the absconding killers also must have thought that the police and intelligence agencies had forgotten about them and probably that’s why they sneaked into Kashmir Valley.

With these arrests, all the five terrorists involved in the killing of Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq have been killed, incarcerated or held in police custody. The credit for the latest arrests goes to the State Investigation Agency (SIA) of J&K police, for displaying exceptional professional acumen and perseverance that enabled them to nab the elusive HM terrorists . Their trial and subsequent conviction will bring a final closure to the brutal murder of a God fearing Kashmiri by his own brethren.

Now that the murder of Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq is back into focus, it would not be out of place to recall many other such killings by militant groups that have largely gone unnoticed. The separatists may say that no such thing happened but in 2011, while speaking at a JKLF organised seminar on ‘Role of intellectuals in the Kashmir movement’, senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Bhat admitted that Lone sahib (Peoples Conference founder and senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone), Mirwaiz ( Moulvi) Farooq, and (JKLF ideologue) Professor (Abdul Ahad) Wani were not killed by the Army or the police. They were targeted by our own people. The story is a long one, but we have to tell the truth. He even accepted that “Wherever we found an intellectual, we ended up killing him,” and put across a haunting question- “Let us ask ourselves: was (JKLF ideologue) Prof Wani a martyr of brilliance or a martyr of rivalry?”

Coincidently, arrest of the absconding killers of Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq comes just days before his assassination, which falls on the eve of the third meeting of the G20 Working Group on Tourism ( May 22, 2023) to be held in Srinagar and Gulmarg. Though these arrests have no direct relationship with the G 20 event, they are nevertheless a major victory in the war against terror in J&K, it validates New Delhi and the J&K UTís deep commitment to rid this region from the scourge of terrorism.

Known as “Paradise on Earth”, which made it one of world’s most popular tourist destinations, J&K has been plagued terrorism being sponsored from across the LoC for more than three decades which has discouraged tourists. However, due to the centre’s efforts in choking terror funding, dogged determination of security forces and law enforcement agencies as well as whole hearted public support, things are looking up once again.

Hence as the arrest of Mirwaiz’s elusive killers comes as a shot in the arm for those who have faith in the rule of law, it also serves as unambiguous.

The author is Editor Brighter Kashmir, author, TV commentator, political analyst and columnist.

Farooq Wani

Farooq Wani is a Kashmir senior journalist, columnist and political commentator.

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