This past summer saw one man frequently turning up inside Srinagar’s Pratap Park with the giant poster of incarcerated Mohammad Qasim Faktoo. The man was Bilal Kakpori, who along with his ilk spearheaded the signature campaign for the release of his leader. Three months later, the man is done, and dead.
Bilal Farooq aka Kakpori was detained when he was actively participating in the signature campaign in Bandipora this August. He was booked under Public Safety Act and lodged in Kathua jail. His detention was denounced by his party, Muslim Deeni Mahaz (MDM), as an act of a sheer frustration of PDP, whose “balloon of the ideology” – ‘Battle of Ideas’ – “has lost all in the air”.
Being the founding member of MDM, Kakpori of Lelhar Pulwama had suffered cardiac arrest twice on October 19. The ailing Kakpori was then sent home, forcing his family to rush him to SKIMS. After battling ill health for around a month, he breathed his last on November 15 there.
His death created a string of reactions with Hurriyat patriarch, Syed Ali Geelani, terming it a huge loss to the Kashmir movement. JKLF chief Yasin Malik termed the deceased as the dedicated person, who always remained steadfast in “freedom struggle”.
Being the part of the popular movement since 1989, Kakpori was known as a humble person, known to wed to the cause of Islam and freedom. He was close confidante of MDM patron, Faktoo, whose better half, Asiya Andrabi, termed him a dedicated, honest activist of Kashmir struggle.
But before the separatists would huddle to pay tributes, Kakpori was known as the staunch activist of Kashmir cause since his youthful days. As the erstwhile front line commander, Kakpori was known for his courage. But he shortly landed in jail, thus suffered heavily by spending prime of his life in jails. He faced prison for 10 years.
His associates term him noble, kind, brave and stunt supporter of freedom of Kashmir who was subjected to “brute torture” in prison, leaving him sick. But he continued adhering to his cause, said Shabir Shah, which made his family the victim of “state suppression”. Kakpori left behind widow, two daughters and a son.
The moment the news of his death broke out, his elder daughter missed her Class 12 paper. But his associates said, that wasn’t the first experience for Kakpori’s family.
– Riyaz Ul Khaliq