Did Mirwaiz Play Down Life Threats?


Bilal Handoo


Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq

(Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq)

Days before the prominent religious leader Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq was assassinated by militants at his Nigeen residence on May 21, 1990, he was cautioned about his possible life threat, which he apparently played down.

His close confidante and senior scribe, Ghulam Nabi Khayal was in Pakistan in April that year visiting his relatives. Soon his Pak sojourn left him dumbfounded.

“I saw some newspapers of particular ideology spitting venom against Moulvi Farooq, calling him ‘Indian agent’ and ‘traitor’,” Khayal told Kashmir Life in an interview.

Sounded alarm, he collected newspaper clippings and returned to Kashmir to inform the cleric about the possible attack on his life.

“I rang him up and told him: ‘Moulvi Sahab, please take care of yourself.’ My call alerted him. He insisted for our immediate possible meeting,” Khayal said.

A few days later, the scribe met the cleric at latter’s Nigeen residence to discuss things clearly. “Look,” Khayal told him, “some people are busy hatching conspiracy against you.” But, said Khayal, he played down the threat without making much out of it.

“Due to his busy schedule, I couldn’t inform him about a smear campaign running against him,” Khayal said.

As the situation across Kashmir was brewing at that point of time, the two didn’t contact each other for a while.

And then on second week of May that year, Khayal again met Mirwaiz Farooq at his Nigeen residence. He saw the prominent religious leader sitting in his office adjacent to his residence.

“I told him: ‘I have a hunch that something very bad is going to happen.’ At that point, he sounded alarm. He demanded me to come clear to the point. I informed him: ‘Look, I saw venomous reports publishing against you in certain Pakistani journals,’ ” Khayal said.

Suddenly that conversation got interrupted when telephone of Mirwaiz’s office started ranging up.

“He picked up the telephone and soon I heard him arguing with the voice from the other side of the phone: ‘No, no. I can’t accept the security… Listen, do you want to subject people visiting my house to security? No, no. I can’t accept it…’ ”

And then, Khayal said, he hung up the phone. After retaining his normal composure, Mirwaiz told Khayal: “The caller was Azhar Nomani (then additional DIG police). He was telling me that government has some inputs on the possible attack on me and that’s why they want to put me under security cover.”

These words made Khayal to join some disturbing dots. He could sense the looming threat. “You must accept the security cover,” Khayal insisted the cleric. “But I know, you won’t agree.”

One week later, on May 21, Khayal dialled the number of Mirwaiz’s Nigeen residence to greet him. Once the phone was answered, Khayal heard a wailing voice informing him: “Moulvi Soabhez lagewekh Goele (Mirwaiz Farooq was shot dead!).” That wailing voice Khayal heard that day was that of the slain cleric’s teen son, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Since then, a platoon strength of police is guarding the cleric’s mansion and every single angle has CCTV surveillance.

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