SRINAGAR: May 21 is a day drenched in blood literally. On this day, Kashmir lost two towering leaders, Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq (1990) and Abdul Gani Lone (2002). The latter actually was assassinated while participating in a memorial event of the former.
Mirwaiz Farooq was the father of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, the chairman of the Hurriyat Conference, and Sajad Lone, the chairman of Peoples’ Conference is the son of Abdul Gani Lone.
Even though memorial events in the twin assassinations have remained frozen for many years, the Covid19 situation has prevented any formal events, the Kashmir parties across the board have issued a statement to remember the two.
Regretting that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq continues to be under house arrest on his father’s death anniversary, a spokesman of the Hurriyat Conference spokesman said Molvi Mohammad Farooq, the Awami Action Committee (AAC) founder, always stood for “peaceful coexistence and friendship” between India and Pakistan. He was for talks for conflict resolution.
The Hurriyat also remembered Abdul Ghani Lone on this occasion. Terming Lone as an “intellectual”, the spokesman his contribution in the making of Hurriyat Conference was “pioneering and unforgettable”.
The spokesman also remembered the people who were killed at Hawal when Mirwaiz’s funeral was fired upon.
Sajad Lone issued a series of tweets to remember his father.
“Remembering my father Abdul Gani Lone who was killed on this day nineteen years ago. Killed for expressing his ideas. Killed for speaking the truth. Truth is as much of a rarity now as it was then,” Lone said. “But what gives me some solace is that those who opposed him and created that false narrative that culminated in my father being killed- that crowd some of them still alive were better dead than alive. They saw what my father was mercifully spared from seeing.”
Sajad continued: “My father left when dying the way he did symbolised dignity symbolised sacrifice. He went at the right time. He left a hero.
As long as we do not stop collectively lying especially on who killed whom we as people will continue to be in the state that we r. People deserve to know-oppressors have many forms. And the worse form of oppressors r those who oppress under the fig leaf of fighting oppression.”
NC Pays Tributes
National Conference (NC) issued a statement paying rich tributes to the late Mirwaiz. “One of the standouts among the social-political and religious leaders, he will be remembered for rendering his responsibilities towards the historic Jamia Masjid with devotion,” Dr Farooq Abdullah, who once had entered into an accord with slain cleric, said. Dr Abdullah said the Mirwaiz was “a persuasive, forceful, and well-versed orator with unparalleled depth of insight, profundity of scholarship and ease of illuminating exposition”.
Dr Abdullah termed Abdul Gani Lone as “an accomplished political leader” and a distinguished legislator, who despite rubbing shoulders with his contemporaries on no account lost his distinctiveness.
While paying tributes to late Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the two as the “torchbearers of the State’s struggle for political and social justice”.
“Both these leaders have played a critical role in the struggle for mitigation of the political, economic and social problems of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Ms Mehbooba was quoted saying. “The best tribute to these leaders would be the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. If alive, both Mirwaiz and Lone could have contributed further towards political and social upliftment of Jammu and Kashmir.”